A fire that started late Sunday and destroyed an abandoned warehouse in east Spokane likely was arson, fire officials say.
Investigators believe the fire was arson but not arrests have been made, said Chief Brian Schaeffer.
Firefighters responded to reports of a fire at the former S&P Meats warehouse at 801 N. Regal St. at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.
Crews located a fire at the back of the building that was quickly contained, said Lt. AJ Miller.
After a walk-through of the building to make sure no one was inside, portions of the roof started to collapse, making it unsafe for crews inside, Miller said.
They knocked down the fire from the outside then sent firefighters in again to the safer parts of the building to check for active fire but they didn’t find any, Miller said. Crews were stationed on watch throughout the night in case the fire became active again, he said.
“Nothing was to be seen at that time,” Miller said of the situation at about 10:30 p.m.
The fire flared up at about 2 a.m. Monday. It burned across the roof of the warehouse causing more cave-ins, Miller said.
“There’s no way we’re going to get in there and put it completely out because the building is unsafe for us at this point,” Miller said. “We’re just trying to keep it from causing any other hazards and safety issues in the little neighborhood here.”
Battalion Chief Jim Schaffer said the warehouse had a metal “rain roof” on top of the old roof. The metal of the rain roof was melted by the flames forming little domes that contained the heat of the fire, Schaffer said.
At its peak the fire sent billows of smoke over a nearby warehouse causing an estimated $100,000 in damage to water containers sitting outside, Schaffer said.
Although the fire was under the watchful eye of fire crews, they couldn’t completely extinguish the flames due to the dangers inside the warehouse, Schaffer said.
Residents of Hillyard north of the fire had a smoky morning, Schaffer said.
Smoke from the fire traveled a nearby Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency monitoring station at Augusta and Fiske, which caused a spike in official readings of Spokane’s air pollution.
Crews were expected to be stationed at the warehouse for most of the day Monday.
The warehouse, built in 1938, is owned by Regal District LLC, which is based in Tacoma, according county records.