Welding sparks started Taylor Bridge fire

MONDAY, DEC. 17, 2012, 11:07 A.M.

OLYMPIA — The Department of Natural Resources has concluded that an August wildfire that caused $11 million damage was caused by sparks from welding or cutting work on a bridge southeast of Cle Elum.

The department today released the results of its investigation into the Taylor Bridge Fire that destroyed 61 homes and blackened 36 square miles.

The fire started Aug. 13 as a contractor and subcontractors were working on a Transportation Department project on the Highway 10 bridge.

Investigators found the fire started about 30 feet from where one worker was cutting rebar with a power saw on the bridge deck and a second worker was welding under the bridge. The work was taking place while industrial activity was supposed to be shut down because of the high fire danger.

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