A city still reeling from the loss of a historic downtown landmark building fire less than three days earlier had another, much smaller fire started in an alley just a block away early Thursday, but the Bellingham Fire Department cautioned not to jump to conclusions about connections between the two.
Bellingham Fire crews responded to an outside fire call at 3:30 a.m. Thursday at 112 E. Holly St. and found two large curbside recycling bins in an alley between the Leopold and the Bank of America parking garage on fire. Damage was limited to the recycle bins and some soot on the wall of a building they were located near, Bellingham Fire Assistant Chief Bill Hewett told The Bellingham Herald.
The fire was less than two football fields away from the remaining structure of Hohl Feed & Seed, which burned Monday morning. On Wednesday, the Bellingham Fire and Police Departments released a joint statement saying that fire started in the alley behind Hohl under suspicious circumstances.
“The thing to caution everybody about is to give us a little time to do the investigation,” Hewett told The Herald. “It would be real easy for people to jump in and start connecting the two and asking those questions. The answer is it could be, but we need to do a thorough investigation and go through everything and do our due diligence before we start linking anything together.”
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Hewett said fire and police investigators are currently working to collect video from the area.
“It is under investigation, and we are trying to determine if we can locate a suspect. ... Unknown if there is any relationship between the fire and the one at Hohl’s,” Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald.
Both Murphy and Hewett said there was nothing new Thursday to report on the Hohl fire investigation.
Hewett said the 1300 block of Hewett Avenue has been reopened to norhtbound traffic utilizing parking spaces along the street to keep traffic a safe distance from the remaining structure. Hewett said some hazards also have been removed to allow for Clark Feed & Seed, which is next door to Hohl, to reopen for business.