Gov. Jay Inslee met with city officials and business owners affected by the July 22 fire in downtown Bothell which destroyed a dozen businesses and damaged many more in the city’s historic downtown.
Beginning at city hall, the Inslee walked downtown to survey the damage before meeting with the some 25 business owners at a local cafe on Aug. 10.
“We know that one way or another you guys are going to get back on your feet,” he said.
The state Department of Commerce will be evaluating whether the damage inflicted by the fire, which destroyed two large buildings, would meet thresholds triggering state aid. Agency officials were not immediately available to explain what these thresholds are.
But Inslee was short on specifics.
“I can’t give you any answers right now,” he said.
He thanked emergency responders for their service, crediting the lack of injuries sustained in the fire to their work.
Bothell fire officials said they didn’t have a set timeline for when business owners could return to the buildings to search for salvageable belongings.
The fire, which started around 2:45 a.m. on July 22 began in a building known as the Mercantile Building on Main Street and 102nd Avenue Northeast.
The building was being renovated at the time, with exposed lumber providing a setting for the fire to quickly expand before it crossed the road to the west and ignited the old Bothell Mall, which housed all the destroyed businesses.
Other business, including a bank and board game cafe across the street also sustained heat damage and many businesses to the west of the mall were damaged by water and flame retardant as firefighters doused the flames.
The mercantile building is owned by a limited-liability company with a Seattle address and the 2016 appraisal was for $4.31 million. A partial appraisal of the Kozy Corner Cafe in the Bothell Mall was listed at $1.75 million.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Response team was also brought in to investigate the fire alongside the Fire Marshal.
The city has not yet released the cause of the fire.
The Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce and the Northshore Rotary Club established a recovery fund to benefit business owners affected by the blaze, and following a block party held on July 28, had raised more than $60,000. An additional $3,000 was also raised by Beardslee Public House and Wildwood Spirits.
Additionally, the city has set up a Business Assistance Recovery Team at the Fire Marshal’s Office and city hall for business owners.