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Fire consumes one historic building, damages a second

by Lora Abcarian | June 24, 2009
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has mobilized a national response team to investigate the cause of a fire which razed one historic building in Wenatchee, WA, and damaged another.

A 100,000-square-foot warehouse formerly owned by Stemilt Growers Inc. was destroyed, and authorities indicated that the adjoining Go USA Building was damaged but will be salvaged. Both structures are listed on the city's historic register.

Approximately 80 firefighters from Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties were dispatched June 20 to Columbia and Chehalis streets just before 6 a.m. on June 20 following a 9-1-1 call.

Three of the warehouse's four walls had collapsed by mid-morning, and firefighters protected a fourth common wall between the warehouse and the Go USA Building.

Roger Pepperl, director of marketing for Stemilt Growers, said that the company sold the building to a private company a year ago. He said the building was in the process of being remodeled for lofts and office space. Mr. Pepperl said that a firewall that was constructed between the two buildings was undoubtedly responsible for minimal damage to the Go USA structure.

Sgt. Cherie Smith, public information officer for the Wenatchee Police Department, said the investigation is ongoing and likely to take another week. "You can imagine the amount of debris [the national response team has] to go through," she told The Produce News.