February fire that destroyed five Sandpoint businesses ruled an accident

A Sandpoint fire that destroyed five businesses and left two damaged back in February has been deemed an accident by the deputy fire marshal. 

A search of the damage on Friday by the Idaho State Fire Marshal led investigators to believe that the fire had started in the basement of one of the buildings, at the wall between the Chocolate Bear and the former Ol Red’s Pub. 

“As we cleared the debris in the basement of 202, the point of origin became clear when we found the glass door to Ol Red’s intact,” said Deputy Fire Marshal Jason Blubaum in a statement Friday. “That became a real game changer.”  

As of now, the cause of the fire is still undetermined. 

Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad says the city is doing everything in its power to return downtown to normal. Efforts include a beautification project, supported by a $7,500 grant award through the BNSF Foundation, that will place vinyl panels of historical photos around the damaged site.  

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