Suspicious WA warehouse fire caused more than $1 million in damage

A fire that struck a Yakima warehouse early Thursday caused more than $1 million in damages, firefighters said, and they are calling the blaze suspicious.

Fire crews expected to be on the scene of the fire for several more hours doing mop up and beginning the investigation, which the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be joining, firefighter said.

Most roads have been reopened; part of J Street near the warehouse is still closed.

The fire spread to neighboring business Yakima Specialties, burning several stacks of lumber before the fire was contained.

Authorities say the fire at Fruit Packers Supply Inc. in Yakima cut out power in a fifth to a quarter of the city early Thursday morning. It was mostly restored by 8 a.m.

The warehouse is at 16th Avenue and J Street and supplies multiple fruit companies with cardboard boxes. The fire was burning in boxes outside the warehouse building, but was knocked down and mostly under control as of 4:30 a.m.

Yakima police Sgt. Ira Cavin said those cardboard boxes are most of what's on fire, and are in a 100 by 150 foot L-shaped pile. The cardboard was wrapped in plastic, making it more difficult to get the fire out, he said.

Authorities were at a brush fire about 1:50 a.m. at 16th and River Road nearby when they noticed the fire. That fire is out.

Cavin said the fires are considered suspicious at this time because of their timing and proximity.

Initially the fire was sending out embers and responders put out two small fires nearby with fire extinguishers: one on the roof of a nearby mobile home and one in a dry field, both south of the property.

Cavin said no structures are currently threatened by the fire. No one was injured.

As of 3:30 a.m., 16th Avenue was closed from River Road to Hathaway. J Street was closed from 16th Avenue to 29th Avenue.

Pacific Power was on scene, but could not immediately reach the area where the power line is while the fire was burning.

Cavin said that power outages are reported in northeast Yakima from the fire area to 40th and Englewood.

As of 6:00 a.m. the company said more than 1000 homes and businesses were still without power, but crews expected to have service restored by 8:30 a.m.

About 30 people responded from Yakima police, the Yakima Fire Department and the Yakima Training Center, along with seven engines and a ladder truck.

Road closures and power outages are expected to last until mid morning.


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