Cause of Front Street fire remains unknown
April 6, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
Work continues on the downtown Issaquah businesses damaged in a January fire, even as investigators remain puzzled about the cause of the blaze.
Authorities said a small fire scorched the inside of El Abuelo — a Mexican grocery at 147 Front St. N. — in the early morning hours Jan. 11. The adjacent Troy Salon sustained smoke and water damage.
Eastside Fire & Rescue Fire Marshal Bud Backer said authorities believe the fire started behind the counter in the grocery. The investigation will remain open as building insurers continue to search for the cause of the fire. Backer said the agency did not consider the fire to be suspicious.
“This is kind of a perplexing case,” he said.
Troy Kline, the proprietor of Troy Salon, said he and other stylists are set up at Innervisions along Northwest Gilman Boulevard after the fire. The salon could reopen in May, he said last week.
Meanwhile, plywood covers the damaged storefronts and a tarp remains draped across the roof of the building.
The owner of the building, Nate Thomas, said workers plan to install a new roof on the damaged building within the next several weeks. Weather has delayed the project, he said, because the structure needs to dry out so workers can install electrical conduit and then start work on the roof.
Thomas said the lease for the grocery expires June 15; the renters did not indicate interest in continuing the lease. The operators of the grocery could not be reached for comment.
DownTown Issaquah Association Executive Director Greg Spranger said he looked forward to the day when Kline could reopen the salon.
“We hate to have any kind of vacancy, especially if there’s been damage” because the charred storefront presents downtown in a negative light, Spranger said.
Issaquah Police officers on patrol noticed the fire at about 3 a.m. on a cold, dreary January night and contacted EFR. Authorities said the fire had almost burned out due to a lack of oxygen by the time firefighters arrived.
Police closed several blocks of Front Street North for about three hours as firefighters doused the blaze and investigated the cause.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or email@example.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.