Area of Origin Determined in Capitol Hills Fire
July 13, 2011
Fire investigators have pinpointed an area of origin for the fire that destroyed the Capitol Hills apartment building at 24 N. Webster on June 30. Investigators believe the fire began in the restaurant housed in the basement of the building.
The fire is not believed to have been intentional. The area of origin is a small "wait station" at the back of the restaurant. The room is something of a staging area for wait staff to finish orders.
In the wait station is a ventilation shaft that runs through the center of the building. Investigators believe the fire entered the shaft and burned straight up into the roof.
Twenty-seven residents were displaced by the fire. The fire quickly went to two alarms as crews worked to protect adjacent buildings.
Neighboring buildings sustained smoke damage, and were later were determined to have structural damage as well. Much of the fire attack focused on the roof, where fire burned just under a rubber covering.
Firefighters trained streams of water from two ladder towers to keep the flames under control. Operations were moved to exterior or defensive firefighting positions as the building's roof and ceiling sagged and threatened to fall in.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947