Investigators say the cause of the fire that gutted the
Olympic Hotel in Marysville Sunday may never be determined.
State arson and bomb investigator Ken Davidson said Monday
the blaze was probably human caused but at the mid-point
in the investigation it can't be ruled accidental or intentional.
The fire that started in the Olympic Hotel shortly after
10 a.m. Sunday nearly leveled the two-story, L-shaped building.
The hotel, which over the past three years had received
numerous citations for health and safety code violations,
was to be demolished at the end of this month.
Marysville Fire Capt. Bart Johnson said no monetary damage
estimate was available because it is hard to estimate the
value of something that is slated to be destroyed.
He said the department has confirmed the building was
insured for $843,000.
Davidson said the investigation into Sunday's blaze is
complicated by the fact that the building was unsecured
and frequently used as shelter by transients, he said.
Cooking utensils and other debris were found in the breezeway
at the northwest side of the building where the fire started,
but Davidson said there was no indication that anyone was
cooking in that area Sunday.
"There was a lot of fuel load (in the breezeway),"
he said. "A lot of stuff that could burn." Davidson
spent all of Monday at the scene conducting interviews for
The charred remains of the once regal hotel were still
smoking Monday afternoon as the previously postponed demolition
by H&H Trenching began.
The claw-like extension of a yellow caterpillar, driven
by Paul Hawes, began pushing the remaining walls of the
old hotel inward at about 1 p.m., the resounding crashes
drawing area residents out of their homes to watch from
a safe distance.
Thick clouds of dust bathed the sidewalk and curb at the
corner of Fourth and I streets as the final section of wall
breezeway went crashing forward into the street, snapping
a orange and white barricade into two pieces.
Even with the dust, the air was much clearer than it had
been 24 hours earlier.
Mike Marcucci, engineer for the California Department
of Forestry and Fire Protection Services station in Marysville,
said firefighters remained on the scene throughout the night
to ensure it was not disturbed and the fire did not flare
He said the CDF investigates every fire it responds to,
but with larger fires, local firefighters do the preliminary
and a fire investigator is called in.
Marcucci said the investigation can take anywhere from
an hour to several weeks depending on the building and different
factors involved such as the damage incurred, obvious signs
and interviews with witnesses.
In some cases, the cause of the fire is never determined,
Built in 1931, the fire spread easily through the structure
which had a continuous, open attic and no fire stops in
the walls. Once the flames had reachedthe building's corner
at Fourth and Istreets, the attack plan was abandoned byfirefighters
for a defensive strategy.
Olympic Hotel owner, Eugene Reggi,returned to the building
Monday morning but declined to comment on the fire.
Only one resident remained in the building,which was scheduled
to be demolished before July 1. No injuries were reported.
While firefighters from a half-dozen agencies fought the
hotel blaze Sunday, another smaller fire was reported at
MAPCO Auto Parts store on Fifth Street.
Marysville Fire Capt. Pat Ajuria said the small fire beneath
a work bench in an open area at the back of the store wasquickly
doused by a Marysville police officer.
less than $100 in damagedone, but the fire definitely lookeds
uspicious and is under investigation, hesaid.