July 29, 2013 in Region

Fire destroys Colville tribal HQ in Nespelem

Associated Press
 

NESPELEM, Wash. —A fire early Monday destroyed the three-story administration building for the Colville Indian reservation, said Mike Finley, chairman of the governing business council.

No one was believed to be in the building when the fire broke out about 1 a.m. in Nespelem, which is about five miles north of Grand Coulee Dam. There’s no indication yet how it started. It was not related to a wildfire, Finley said.

Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to an adjacent Bureau of Indian Affairs building, he said.

The building that burned to the ground housed the business council and support staff for the Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Reservation.

Tribal records were lost and some services will be bottlenecked, Finley said. The confederation has 12 tribes with 9,470 members and a 1.4 million acre reservation in northeast Washington.

“The governing body no longer has a place to operate,” he said. “Our tribal government is homeless.”

The tribe has other offices where officials will try to find space until the administration building can be rebuilt. The tribe had started planning for a new government center, so it has a head start on the replacement, Finley said.

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