The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has not been able to determine a cause for the massive Main Street fire that ravaged downtown Bothell and destroyed numerous buildings on July 22.
The City of Bothell received the Cause and Origin Report and released the findings on Nov. 17 following an extensive investigation and data analysis by the ATF.
With the cause of the fire officially found to be undetermined, the investigation remains open and can be altered should new evidence become available, according to a release by the City of Bothell.
Around 20 agents from the ATF and Explosives National Response Team were brought in to investigate the fire, along with local officials.
The fire began around 2:45 a.m. on July 22 in the under-construction Mercantile building and completely consumed the wooden part of the structure. The four-alarm fire hopped the road and then destroyed the Bothell Mall building to the west. Around 20 businesses along Main Street sustained water, heat or fire damage during the incident.
The ATF determined that the fire destroyed all potential evidence and, due to the extensive damage, a clearly defined area of origin could not be determined.
“The intensity and enormity of this fire prevented any conclusive evidence from being recovered,” said Interim Fire Marshal Butch Noble. “Although I know this conclusion may be somewhat disappointing, it does not come as a big surprise for this size of an event. The City is very grateful to ATF for their assistance in working collaboratively with our investigators to leave no stone unturned.”
The City of Bothell continues to work with business owners and the community to rebuild after the Main Street fire.
“The City is focused on recovery efforts and determined to continue progress after this historic and devastating loss,” said Assistant City Manager Peter Troedsson.
The Bothell Fire Fund was set up for donations to be made for the owners of the businesses that were lost in the fire. The fund has been managed by the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce and the Northshore Rotary Club. The effort to raise money benefited from the Bothell Fire Fund Block Party on July 28, which was organized to facilitate donations. At last tally in August the fund had raised $65,000.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also offered low-interest federal loans for working capital to small businesses economically impacted by the Main Street Fire, according to the city’s website. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following a request received on Oct. 19 from Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee.
Inslee sent a letter to the SBA following a tour of the site of the Main Street fire on Aug. 10.