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‘Not much we can do': Wash. cold storage warehouse continues to burn

Benton County Fire District 1 stated the 525,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse in Finley is too unstable to enter

Tri-City Herald

FINLEY, Wash. — The Lineage cold storage warehouse continues to smolder and burn three weeks after the fire started, destroying much of the massive building.

[PREVIOUSLY: Wash. firefighters battle 525,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse blaze]

The remaining fire is in the center of the nearly 12-acre building, which is too unstable for firefighters to enter to extinguish the fire completely, according to Benton Fire District 1.

“We keep trying, but based on where we can safely be inside the building and pressure needed for water to reach the burning area, and the lack of a consistent, high-volume water source, there’s not much we can do,” the district posted on social media.

It is believed to be the largest structure fire ever in the Tri-Cities area.

The mostly volunteer crews of the fire district are no longer on-site around the clock at the building at 224905 E. Bowles Road in Finley.

Instead, a security company is monitoring the partially collapsed building 24 hours a day. It is on the lookout for trespassers and acts as a fire watch, should fire burn outside the walls of the building and pose a threat of the flames spreading.

Benton Fire District 1’s Station 120 is only a block away.

Those at the station experience the same drifting smoke, which improves and then worsens again, as neighbors in the rural area there.

Lineage, called Lineage Logistics until the name was shortened this spring, has plans to start the long process of dismantling parts of the building still standing and remove fire debris once the fire is out, according to Benton Fire District 1.

The fire district has asked the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help investigate the cause of the fire, which started in a freezer the morning of April 21.

Officials initially reported that the fire spread to the roof because the suppression system was partially blocked and couldn’t snuff all of it out.

The older section of the cold storage warehouse is now a pile of smoldering vegetables and packaging.

That half of the building was storing large boxes of potatoes cut into small pieces. He estimated the cardboard boxes that held them were about 4 feet square with a thin liner. They were stacked on wooden pallets.

The walls of the newer section of the cold storage facility that were made of noncombustible materials remain standing. But fire spread across the roof of the entire structure, destroying it.

The newer section of the plant held smaller containers of vegetables ready to ship, including more potatoes, corn, peas and carrots.

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