Grand Forks Fire/Rescue are treating as “suspicious” a fire that destroyed a vacant home near the city’s downtown core, according to Dep. Chief Rich Piché.
The department was called to the fire at 7168 Riverside Dr. shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18. The home, which had been the site of two smaller fires starting last spring, was lost to the flames, Piché said.
Piché said the fire likely started in a ground-floor bathroom, qualifying that his findings at the scene couldn’t pinpoint an exact cause.
The flames spread aggressively through the wood-framed home, left vacant after the flood of May 2018. The department had the blaze under control within 20 minutes of arrival, but the building’s original construction worked against firefighters’ efforts.
To that point, Piché explained that the walls had been insulated with sawdust, adding that the ceiling’s “shiplap” design made it virtually impervious to water.
No one was inside the home when it burnt down.
Piché said several volunteer members slipped and fell in the snow, leaving one member with a sprained knee.