Two months after a massive explosion changed the face of downtown North Bend, the King County Fire Investigation Unit has signed off on the investigation, ruling the explosion accidental.
According to Sergeant DB Gates with the King County Sheriff’s Office Media Relations Office, investigators determined that “natural gas in a building being remodeled set off the explosion and subsequent fire.”
Gates said the job of the Investigation Unit is to determine the origin/cause of fires, with the main focus determining whether a fire was intentional or accidental.
If fires are determined to be intentional (arson), King County investigators then perform the criminal investigation work to help identify, apprehend and prosecute those responsible for the fire.
Sgt. Gates said even though the explosion/fire was ruled accidental, she was aware that multiple insurance companies were also doing their own investigations into the April 25th explosion, stating that the case might result in different “suits and countersuits with lots of differing claims.”
She added, “Our office isn’t likely to point fingers at any one particular cause at this point in time.”
Lisa Riley, owner of the new restaurant The Run-a-Muck, which was under construction and scheduled to open a couple of weeks after the tragic blast, stated in an earlier interview that when she left the building around 6:30PM April 24th, nine hours before the explosion, there was absolutely no natural gas smell.
A City of North Bend spokesperson said the city has been told cleanup of the explosion site and large rubble pile along North Bend Way will begin right after the 4th of July.
There is no word yet regarding rebuilding plans for the destroyed buildings.