EVERETT — A preliminary investigation found no evidence to suggest criminal activity caused a four-alarm fire that destroyed half of the Waterfront Place Apartments project, authorities said Thursday.
However, the cause of the fire is unknown and investigators are continuing to “bring all the pieces together,” the Everett Fire Department said in a news release Thursday.
“There is still a fair amount of work to do with the investigation,” said Rachael Doniger, a department spokesperson.
The Everett waterfront’s 266-unit apartment complex had been under construction for nearly a year when the southern of two buildings erupted into a four-story inferno last week. In about an hour, it was gone.
The loss was estimated estimated at $25 million to $30 million, for the apartment building alone.
The north building of Waterfront Place, with a planned 135 homes, did not sustain any serious structural damage. Damage estimates for that part of the development — as well as homes hundreds of feet away that also caught fire — were still being calculated.
The project’s developers, SeaLevel Properties and Gracorp, are committed to rebuilding the burned structure, a Port of Everett spokesperson told The Daily Herald last week. The developers did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Once the development caught fire July 16, strong winds carried embers and ash east toward Everett’s Northwest neighborhood, which features historic homes that overlook Port Gardner.
Dozens of firefighters from throughout the county were on scene to assist. Two were injured, both receiving minor burns to their hands.
In a frenzy, residents used garden hoses to douse their roofs, porches and lawns to protect against the incoming embers. Two houses, one on Grand Avenue and another on Rucker Avenue, caught fire.
Fire crews arrived from as far south as Shoreline, Bothell, Northshore and Woodinville. A ladder crew from Arlington extinguished the Rucker Avenue house fire.
At least 53 vehicles — engines, ladder trucks, ambulances and so on — were also on scene to combat the flames.
Meanwhile, hundreds of onlookers watched the spectacle from Grand Avenue Park.
Once the fire was contained, investigators from the Everett Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab and several nearby fire agencies helped with the investigation.
On Tuesday, Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber, John Shaw of SeaLevel Properties and Giuseppe Augello of Gracorp put out a statement thanking the first responders and neighbors for their effort to combat the fire.
“This was an all hands-on-deck effort, and an exemplary example of a community that comes together when it matters most,” the statement said. “We look forward to rebuilding and realizing our collective vision for the waterfront and its future.”