No sign of arson in rubble of Stewart Title Co. office fire in Everett

  • Thu Jul 10th, 2008 11:22pm
  • News

Herald Staff

EVERETT — Fire investigators Thursday said they found no signs of arson in the rubble of the blaze that destroyed a title company in downtown Everett on June 25.

Investigators on Thursday completed their hands-on work in the ashes of what was once the Stewart Title Co. offices, said Glen Martinsen, assistant fire chief for Everett.

Further analysis is required before a definitive ruling on the fire that caused $1 million damage, Martinsen said.

Everett fire investigators plan to team with county, federal and insurance investigators to compare notes before a final report is issued.

It took weeks before investigators could walk into the remains of the building in the 2700 block of Wetmore Avenue. An Everett building inspector had ruled the gutted office was too dangerous for investigators to scour until the walls could be removed.

The day after the blaze, fire officials were lowered by crane into part of the building. They were able to narrow down where the fire may have started, but they still needed to get in on the ground to collect more evidence.

Fire investigators typically need to sift through rubble by hand to determine where the blaze began. They look for electrical or mechanical items that might have sparked a fire, Martinsen said.

Thursday, they collected ash and other burnt items in sterile empty paint cans. The samples are expected to be sent to a laboratory to determine if the presence of accelerants can be detected.

No obvious evidence of arson was found Thursday, Martinsen said.

The fire was one of the biggest in recent city history.