Investigation begins into west Sequim building fire
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Martha Acosta, owner of Baja Cantina in Sequim, searches through a small metal box for surviving business documents with Clallam County Fire District No. 3 firefighter Jim Whitaker on Tuesday.
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Inspectors from Clallam County Fire District No. 3 inspect the burned-out shell of the Sequim building that housed Baja Cantina and the Sequim Consignment Co.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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SEQUIM — Fire investigators Tuesday were sifting through the remains of a Monday afternoon blaze that tore through a Sequim building housing a Mexican restaurant and consignment store.

“The investigators are currently on scene [preparing] to start the investigation process” into the cause of the fire that destroyed the sites of the Baja Cantina restaurant and Sequim Consignment Co. shop,” said Patrick Young, spokesman for Clallam County Fire District No. 3.

“With a fire this large, [the investigation] will likely take several days,” he added.

Martha Acosta, owner of Baja Cantina, also was at the scene Tuesday morning but declined to speak with a Peninsula Daily News reporter.

Fire crews had been at the scene of the fire at 820 W. Washington St. ever since it was reported at about 1:07 p.m. Monday, Young said.

One person was treated and released on scene for possible smoke inhalation; otherwise, no one was hurt.

The fire was extinguished by about 5 p.m. Crews stayed there Monday to watch for flare-ups, Young said.

The building's roof partially collapsed during the fire.

Young did not have a square footage estimate Tuesday but said the building is about 150 feet long by between 30 to 40 feet wide.

Young said a paramedic from a passing Fire District No. 3 ambulance on its way to a medical call spotted smoke coming from the building's eaves and alerted emergency dispatch.

The paramedic was left at the building and started evacuating the restaurant and consignment store, Young said, while the second medic in the ambulance continued to the unrelated emergency call.

Crews from Fire District No. 3, Clallam County Fire District No. 2 and the Port Angeles Fire Department, totaling about 30 firefighters, battled the blaze Monday, Young said.

Young estimated that 2 million gallons of water over the course of three hours was used to fight the fire.

That's enough to fill the main pool at the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center 10 times over.

Linda Diesen, the building's owner, said Monday that the building was insured.

Diesen bought the building, valued at $590,165 by the county assessor, in 2004 and said she had spent much of the past 10 years renovating it.

Young said Tuesday he did not yet have a damage estimate.

West Washington Street was closed for about 4 hours between Seventh and Ninth avenues while the fire was being fought, Young said.

Westbound traffic on the main street was detoured north up Seventh Avenue to West Hendrickson Road and south down Priest Road back to West Washington Street.


Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at

Reporter Arwyn Rice contributed to this report.

Last modified: May 20. 2014 8:20PM
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