Aftermath of fire on Third Avenue on June 12, 2019. (Terry St. Pierre / The Northern View)

UPDATE: Prince Rupert Fire Department complete Third Ave. fire investigation

Deputy fire chief says not enough concrete evidence to determine cause

The June 12, Third Ave. fire has been classified as “undetermined” according to the results from the Prince Rupert Fire Department’s investigation.

“It is not very often that we come back with an undetermined outcome,” said Jeff Beckwith, Prince Rupert’s deputy fire chief.

A subsequent investigation conducted by the insurance company’s own private fire investigator reached the same conclusion, according to Beckwith.

READ MORE: Blaze consumes homes on Third Avenue West

The fire department was able to confirm that the fire ignited at the 937 Third Ave. property — the first house to collapse due to structural damage — however, they were unable to determine if it was accidental, arson, or an electrical failure.

READ MORE: No injuries in Third Avenue Fire, investigation underway

Aftermath of fire on Third Ave. on June 12, 2019. Because of the houses’ proximity, two caught fire and suffered damage. (Terry St. Pierre / The Northern View)

Beckwith said there was nothing they could conclude by digging through the rubble as there was not enough concrete evidence to define the cause.

The case is considered closed unless there is more evidence that surfaces.

“The case is basically sitting in limbo unless someone comes into the police station with more information or if new witness statements from the insurance comes up,” concluded Beckwith.

The damage from the fire was so severe that the middle property, 941 Third Ave., could not be demolished without the firefighters sending in an automated machine attached to a camera to remove the unsteady structures before they entered the building.

READ MORE: Fate of last house standing from Third Ave. fire in hands of insurance

The middle home of the Third Ave. house trio, located at 941, was demolished after the June 12, 2019 fire due to safety concerns. Only one house remains, it’s fate left to the insurance company. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

No one was in their homes when the fire began — around 6 p.m. on June 12 — and no injuries were reported. The pets which had escaped the flames were successfully reunited with their owners two days after the incident.

READ MORE: Cats of Third Avenue fire are safe and sound

For now only one house from the trio, 945 Third Ave., which suffered water and smoke damage, remains standing. Whether or not it is a write-off will be determined by the insurance company and owner.

The Pacific Inn and Fisherman’s Hall also suffered minor smoke damage on their ground floors but quickly opened a couple of days after the fire.

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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