Shock seized the Colville community earlier this evening when a fire broke out at Saundra's Furniture on Main Street. The Colville Fire Department received the call sometime after 8 p.m. and arrived to find the building engulfed in flames. Curious onlookers crowded sidewalks across the street until law enforcement told people to stand back.
"I went outside for a smoke break and about 15 minutes later a customer said there was a fire," says Brittnee Wilsey, a waitress at the Acorn Saloon across the street from Saundra's. Wilsey and a coworker called emergency services to report the incident. "It was fully engulfed," said Wilsey of the building. "Also, I noticed that it was dark inside and the lights are usually on at night."
The fire at Saundraâ€™s Furniture, 279 S. Main St., required the temporary closure of Highway 395 between First Avenue and Birch Avenue just after 8 p.m., a news release from the Washington State Patrol said. Traffic on the highway was detoured.
The building has resided on Colville's Main Street for over 57 years. According to CFD Chief Joe Hirsch, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but no one was injured. The business is also insured.
"I can't speculate yet as to what was the cause of the fire," said Hirsch around 10:30 p.m. "Access to the fire was difficult due to having a basement on the bottom of the building and a second floor, which makes it unstable and heightens danger to firefighters, so I didn't feel comfortable sending anyone inside."
Fire trucks from both the Arden and Kettle Falls fire departments responded as back up, though the Arden Fire Department ended up protecting the Stevens County Courthouse annex building from the extreme heat put off by the fire. City water and street crews, Washington State Patrol, WSDOT, and Avista were also on the scene.
"I appreciate every firefighter we've got here, and the other agencies as well," said Hirsch.