A Montesano structure was engulfed in flames on Friday afternoon.
The building, located at East Pioneer Avenue and Academy Street, had long sat devoid of business and inhabitants.
“We used to have a business in it, but recently my husband has been putting a bunch of junk in it. It’s just storage,” Coral Lyons said. Lyons and her husband, Don, own the property. “It’s been empty for a few years.”
Lyons unofficially said she believes the fire was started by an out-of-control burn. She’s not sure who was responsible for the burn, but she thinks the wind was stronger than expected and the fire got away from them and spread to the structure.
As the fire burned, a crowd gathered on street corners to watch Montesano Fire Department firefighters and their colleagues from various fire districts and the Elma Fire Department battle to contain the flames and douse the quickly totaled structure.
Mayor Vini Samuel arrived as the passenger in a pickup truck. She spoke to a small cowd on the corner as the firefighters worked.
Over the emergency radio channel, firefighters asked dispatch to notify the rail company of the fire — fire fighters had a fire truck on the tracks to contain the fire from a separate angle.
As the firefighters fought the flames, Lyons watched.
“I don’t know who had the fire going. Whoever did it, it got out of hand and it started our place on fire,” Lyons said in a phone interview. “I need to know who is responsible.”
She was at a loss for words. The firefighters were still working to contain the fire that had just claimed her building.