ATF joins probe of Post Falls mansion fire

A house in Post Falls was destroyed by fire on Feb. 16, 2012.  (Courtesy of Steve Wasson )
A house in Post Falls was destroyed by fire on Feb. 16, 2012. (Courtesy of Steve Wasson )

The federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will join the investigation of the Thursday fire that gutted a million-dollar mansion in Post Falls overlooking the Spokane River.

Dan Ryan, spokesman for Kootenai County Fire & Rescue, said an investigator with the ATF wasn’t available to join the investigation until Tuesday. The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

“A fire that size taxes a department the size of ours,” Ryan said.

Last week, investigators brought in an accelerant-sniffing dog which alerted investigators to a couple of areas inside the home, owned by Leonard and Pamela Wallace. The home, which was assessed at about $1.5 million, had been the subject of a pending foreclosure.

“The dog did have a couple hits. We took some samples and sent them to the lab. But the dogs work off petroleum smells. We have petroleum products all around our houses,” Ryan said.

Those lab results are expected in a couple weeks, he said. In the meantime, the Wallace’s insurance company hired a security agency to secure the home over this past weekend until investigators begin anew on Tuesday, Ryan said.

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