Fire destroys 112-year-old Everett building

An Everett building that burned in a commercial fire was 112 years old and not required to have sprinklers - something fire officials would like to see change.

Firefighters doused the smouldering embers of more than a century of history on Tuesday.

Manuel Reyes's history with the building only dated back a decade. That's how long he worked at Everett Office Furniture – until now.

"All the people who worked here are like a family," he said. "To see the building go down completely, it's hard."

The 112-year-old building, located along Broadway near Xfinity Arena, housed the office furniture company and a small church.

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Prior tenants over the years are said to have included a turn of the century brothel.

The turn of the 21st century, however, has left old buildings like this one and many more all around Everett behind.

Assistant Fire Marshal Steve Goforth said since the building was constructed prior to 1992 it doesn't have to have a sprinkler system.

"Fire suppression systems work," he said. "They can knock down fires to the the point where we just need to mop up, in some cases."

While fire officials would like to see all business retrofitted with sprinklers, the city realizes the cost could be a heavy burden to small businesses. Sprinkler systems often run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Additionally, Goforth said some older buildings can't physically be retrofitted.

"Some buildings can't even carry the weight of the sprinkler," he said. "You could say it would be nice to have a sprinkler, but some buildings weren't built to support the extra weight they have."

It took a 2016 fire that killed one and left 130 homeless to get the city to mandate fire alarms in most city apartment buildings, but there isn't the same support for mandatory sprinklers in businesses.

Neighbors say there have been recent issues with homeless people breaking into the building and lighting fires around the outside to keep warm at night, but no official cause has been determined.

The ATF is assisting in the investigation.

© 2017 KING-TV


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