SUNNYSIDE -- Investigators believe they know the cause of an Easter Sunday apartment fire that destroyed the homes of 51 people, but they are continuing their investigation to iron out details.
Officials also still are working to estimate a dollar figure on the losses caused by fire, which razed an eight-unit building of the Country Lane Apartments on Harrison Avenue.
Early indications pointed to barbecue briquettes that hadn't been properly extinguished and were stored next to combustible materials and that's still most likely the case, said Bill Harris, the city's fire marshal.
Apartment owners Angie and Juan Marin spent Monday picking through the remains, helping the American Red Cross staff and volunteers, translating for the displaced residents and distributing deposit refunds.
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Helping the residents "is the first concern right now," Angie Marin said.
Many of them speak only Spanish and most did not have renter's insurance, she said.
The Country Lane Apartments has a total of 48 units in eight-unit buildings. Of those, one eight-unit building was destroyed by the fire while another -- in which the Marins live -- was partially damaged.
They want to rebuild.
"As soon as possible, the better for everybody," she said.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross has closed a temporary shelter at Chief Kamiakin Elementary School because none of the 51 displaced people stayed in it Sunday night, said Martha Read, the agency's regional emergency service director.
Red Cross staff members, however, stayed at the school Monday to distribute money for food to those affected by the blaze and make referrals for temporary housing. They had tended to the needs of about half the victims as of Monday afternoon and hoped to wrap up their work by Monday evening, Read said.
The Lower Valley Crisis and Support Network has been distributing clothing to the victims on referrals from the Red Cross, Read said. Those interested in donating clothes should do so at the Crisis Support office at 600 North Ave., not at the school, she said.
Fire victims who need help and those who wish to donate should call the Yakima Valley Chapter of the Red Cross at 509-457-1690.