Crews will begin their investigation Monday into what caused Friday's massive fire that destroyed a Les Schwab Tire Center in St. Helens.
Crews kept a close eye on the building over the weekend to make sure there were no flare-ups. Due to the condition of the building, crews will likely try and remove the siding and roofing from the outside, investigators said.
Firefighters say someone driving by on Highway 30 late Friday afternoon saw the smoke, ran inside and told employees that the building was on fire. Employees then grabbed fire extinguishers and went behind the store where a patch of grass was on fire, investigators said. Investigators aren't sure if the grass started burning before the fire spread to the building or caught fire as a result of the fire from the building.
"I turned around and heard a pop. And then I see police cars and fire trucks. And then a big poof of black smoke came out," said witness James Thrasher.
The fire shut down a portion of Highway 30 for several hours, which impacted the Hood to Coast race. The highway is now back open in both directions.
In a statement, a Les Schwab spokesperson said employees at the St. Helens store will be working at other Les Schwab locations. The nearest one is in Scappoose.
Customers can access their account from any location, the statement said.
The company will eventually set up a temporary location and does plan to rebuild in the near future, the statement said.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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