August 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM
State, construction company investigating cause of wildfire
The Cle Elum bridge where authorities say the Taylor Bridge fire started on Monday is being closely investigated by state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) officials and officials with a Ridgefield, Wash., construction firm working on the bridge.
Repairs to the bridge, also known as the Bristol Fill Bridge, have been ongoing since late May, according to WSDOT. The bridge, on Highway 10, has served motorists traveling between Cle Elum and Ellensburg for 75 years and was in serious disrepair.
Mike Westbay, a WSDOT spokesman, said that Conway Construction Company, of Ridgefield, was hired to rebuild the bridge.
On Tuesday, Josie Williams, a spokeswoman working with fire crews, said that a state bridge-construction crew working on the bridge is believed to have sparked the fire Monday afternoon.
However, Westbay said today that only one WSDOT employee was at the construction site Monday. That employee, an inspector, dialed 911 when he saw smoke.
“He was at the other end of the bridge from where the fire started. He saw the smoke and saw the fire and called 911,” Westbay said. “I don’t think anybody knows what work activity caused this.”
This morning, David Conway, of the Conway Construction Company, released this statement:
“Conway Construction Company is fully cooperating with multiple ongoing investigations. A cause of the fire has yet to be established. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered losses, those who remain in harm’s way, and those who are battling the blaze.”
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