The following is a Press Release issued by Spokane Teacher's Credit Union regarding the fire at their branch under construction on 57th & Regal this morning:
The work of human and canine investigators led to the conclusion that a fire that damaged STCU's Moran Prairie Branch may have been intentionally set.
While the investigation is not yet complete, "there is strong reason to believe that the fire is suspicious," said Bill Walkup, chief of Spokane County Fire District 8. He asked anyone with information about the fire to call District 8, at (509)926-6699.
As part of their investigation, fire officials brought in Mako, Spokane Valley Fire Department's Labrador retriever. Mako, who joined the fire department in 2010, is trained to sniff out accelerant's at fire scenes.
The fire, which was reported about 4:30 a.m. today, burned portions of a branch that is scheduled to open in November at 5711 S. Hailee Lane. Officials for STCU and Walker Construction believe it will still be possible to meet that schedule.
"It's remarkable that the building was not more heavily damaged," said Community Relations Manager Traci McGlathery, who credited the quick response of firefighters, who were prompted by alert citizens. "We're grateful to them, and to everyone who saw the fire and called 911."
SPOKANE, Wash. - Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire early Tuesday morning at the STCU branch under construction near 57th & Regal on Spokane's South Hill.
The fire broke out at around 4:30 a.m. Spokane Fire District 8 Division Chief Tom Hatley says when crews from arrived, "the flames were shooting out of the roof."
Crews who worked the fire say because the structure did not have any windows or siding the fire was able to burn quickly into the roof.
It took crews just six minutes to put of the flames. As for the possibility that the fire was suspicious, Hatley said, "there is no power to the building so we can't rule anything out."
No injuries were reported. Traci McGlathery with STCU says the branch is still expected to open in November.