Exterior light fixture blamed for Snoqualmie fire

Security footage from a nearby building helped King County investigator determine the cause.

An investigation has revealed the cause of a fire that destroyed a historic building April 14 in downtown Snoqualmie.

With the help of security camera footage from a neighboring building, a King County fire investigator was able to determine that the fire stemmed from an exterior light fixture on the south side of the 96-year-old building at 8102 Railroad Avenue SE.

Snoqualmie Fire Capt. Jacob Fouts shared a comprehensive report of the investigators’ findings during the Snoqualmie City Council’s Public Safety Committee meeting on May 6.

“He believes it started there. It burned up into the attic space, and then the subsequent collapse of the attic space into the second floor, and turned into the global fire we saw,” Fouts said. “He believes the fire to be accidental.”

From the footage, it has been estimated that the fire had been burning since approximately 1 a.m. April 14. Fouts shared that it took four hours for the fire to penetrate the exterior wall and reach the building’s interior before it was reported at 5:07 a.m.

The King County Assessor determined the property loss amounted to $885,000. The business owners estimated an additional content loss of $500,000.

“While it was devastating for our community to lose those businesses, I think from a city perspective, we need to be proud,” Fouts said. “Not only was it just limited to that building, we had no adjoining damages to any other structures.”

To the credit of the multi-agency response, Fouts said, the fire was contained to the single building or origin — home to Chickadee Bakeshop, Littlest Wishes Photography, Snoqualmie Ice Cream and Snoqualmie Pie Company. It’s an unlikely outcome given its proximity to the surrounding buildings, he said.

“We need to be very thankful for the people that were there that day,” Fouts said. “From our responders, our city staff, our administration, everybody that came to the scene that day, they all played a pivotal part in making sure the business owners felt loved, appreciated and taken care of.”

The estimated saved property is valued at $1.25 million, according to the King County Assessor.