Liberty Theater building blaze likely was electrical, officials say

By Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldAugust 20, 2013 

A fire that gutted the recently renovated Liberty Theater building in downtown Pasco last week likely was an electrical fire, officials said Tuesday.

The fire started in the northeast corner of the building between the ceiling and the roof, said Pasco fire Chief Bob Gear. The extensive damage in the building made it hard for investigators to tell exactly how the fire started.

An arson investigator with the Pasco Police Department found no signs that the fire was started intentionally.

"There is nothing else in that space (between the ceiling and roof) that would start a fire to cause that amount of damage," Gear said.

The fire department has completed its investigation and the city of Pasco is done inspecting the building, officials said. The building recently was turned over to owner Octavio Rodriguez.

Rodriguez declined to talk to the Herald about his plans for what's left of the building. He had insurance, said officials.

Parts of the sidewalk in front of the building on Fourth Avenue will need to be repaired because of the water damage, said Mitch Nickolds, Pasco's inspection services manager.

There still is debris inside of the building, though it is stable, Gear said. A hair salon next to the building also was damaged during the fire and was determined unsafe to re-open.

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