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Investigator: No suspects yet in Reid Boiler Works fire

BELLINGHAM — Fire investigators have no strong leads pointing to who set off fireworks near Reid Boiler Works just before the iconic building burned down this weekend, a lead investigator said Monday, Feb. 10.

One witness saw three large gold fireworks — likely shot from a mortar — explode in the sky near Taylor Dock, right before the building near Fairhaven caught fire around 10:20 p.m. Saturday, said Bellingham Fire Marshal Jason Napier.

Another witness heard what sounded like voices, maybe male voices, coming from a small trail just to the southwest of the building. (So, that's closer to the Fairhaven district and the water.) No one was spotted running from the area.

"It doesn't look very promising," Napier said.

Authorities suspect the fireworks sparked a grass fire that spread to the building. But because of the lack of evidence that survived the intense heat and flames, no official cause has been determined.

The county assessor's office does not have an exact value for the vacant building, so it's difficult to give a monetary damage estimate, Napier said.

Reid Boiler Works opened for business in 1898. That building has been empty since operations shut down in 2010.

Napier hoped to interview more people who were in the area Saturday night. If you have tips, call the Bellingham Fire Department at 360-778-8400.

For a gallery of photos from the dramatic fire, click here.

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