Fire at landmark Tacoma pagoda deemed suspicious

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by Associated Press and Teresa Yuan / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TeresaYuan

KING5.com

Posted on April 15, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 15 at 8:52 PM

TACOMA, Wash. - Fire officials say a two-alarm fire that caused significant damage to the landmark pagoda building at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma Friday morning is suspicious.

Fire Department spokesman Joe Meineck said firefighters were called to the scene around 4:30 a.m. after a park employee discovered the fire. When firefighters arrived, they called a second alarm.

The pagoda in the park's Japanese garden was built in 1914 and is a replica of a 17th Century Japanese lodge. It accommodated up to 200 people for weddings, memorial services and parties.

One man arrived at the pagoda saying his sister was to be married there in the evening.

"My sister's wedding is today at 6 (p.m.). My mom sent me down here to talk to the Metro people to see what we can do," the man said.

The wedding was relocated to the Point Defiance Zoo and is scheduled as planned for Friday evening, said park officials.

Workers said there have been arson problems in the park.  Recently some garbage cans were set on fire. Investigators, however, are still searching for a cause of the fire.

Metro Parks Tacoma says it plans to restore the building as soon as possible.


 

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