Kennewick fire investigators are calling an early morning fire in a historic building under construction suspicious.

Crews called to the Cascade Building on the corner of West Kennewick and North Cascade discovered smoke and flames coming out of the windows.

Due to the building undergoing rehabilitation from a previous fire, firefighters called for additional resources. Seven different fire districts responded.

The second floor of the building suffered heavy damage. Crews discovered a large hole in the floor.

Dennis Schoenberg, owner of Desert Gem and Appraisal, says his business next door suffered some smoke and water damage.

"It could have been a whole lot worse, but fortunately they (firefighters) were able to keep things under control. It didn't expand. The fire didn't grow. We didn't have a re-enactment of a year ago." Schoenberg said.

In February 2022, the 115-year-old building caught fire, destroying apartments and displacing several residents.

Cascade Building Fire 2022
Cascade Building Fire 2022

Fire investigators believe this morning's fire is suspicious due to an unsecured door and a portable ladder leading into the second floor in the area of the fire.

"It's definitely frustrating. You just kind of wonder of what the thought process is with some people who have to, for whatever reason, start this building on fire. It's 70 degrees at night. It's not like they need a fire to stay warm." Schoenberg said.

No one was injured.

The fire could have been a lot worse. Fire investigators say flames traveled up a pipe between walls into newly installed insulation under the roofline. The fire was stopped by sheetrock which limited the damage.

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