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Furniture store fire in Colville took hours to put out

Chief says cause still unknown

Fire crews from Stevens County, Arden and Kettle Falls worked through Saturday night and Sunday morning battling a fire that engulfed a two-story business in downtown Colville.

The fire at Saundra’s Furniture and Design at 279 S. Main St. was called in around 8 p.m. Saturday. Volunteer crews from Stevens County Fire District 3 responded.

Joe Hirsch, Colville’s fire chief, said the blaze burned with above-average heat because of the quantity of furniture and carpeting inside the building. No cause for the fire has been determined, he said.

Because of the size of the building and the damage, Hirsch said, the state fire marshal’s office likely will take part in an investigation. That likely won’t start until Tuesday, because of today’s holiday.

He said it’s typical for a fire of this type to launch rumors about its origin, especially since it started on a Saturday night, across the street from a popular tavern. “The city police chief will deal with and follow up on those rumors,” Hirsch said.

The concrete block and brick building is a total loss, he said.

Witnesses who spotted the blaze said it began on the northwest corner of the main level.

Colville police shut down Main Street as fire crews worked the scene. Because of the heat, Hirsch said teams were pouring about 2,500 gallons of water per minute all night long to knock the fire down.

The main risk was to two businesses across the alley from the building’s east wall.

“Fortunately that wall held,” making it easier to keep the businesses protected, he said.

The owners of the store are Allen and Saundra Wilma, of Colville. Hirsch said the owners had an insurance adjuster at the scene by Sunday morning. It’s unclear at this point the amount of damage the business sustained.

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