Suspicious fire may have Centralia connection


Fire officials are looking at a possible connection between a commercial fire in Aberdeen Tuesday and five suspicious fires in Centralia.

Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Rick Mack visited Aberdeen Thursday to examine the building at 600 E. Wishkah St., which was mostly destroyed in Tuesday’s early morning blaze.

Mack said the timing of the fire caught his attention. He’s investigating five fires in Centralia earlier this month, three of which have already been ruled arson. The fires all started within minutes of one another May 3, damaging three churches, a Western-wear store and an espresso stand.

Aberdeen Fire Assistant Chief Rich Malizia said Tuesday’s fire has been deemed suspicious, but hasn’t yet been determined to be arson.

The fire occurred around 12:50 a.m., with initial reports of black smoke near the Wishkah River Bridge, coming up from the back of the building.

The building — home to the Hagen and Bates Law Firm, Cheryl Demoss Massage, The Body Shop Massage and A Classic Cut hair salon — was estimated to be around 85 percent damaged with a estimated total damage cost of $950,000.

Anyone with information should call Aberdeen Police at 533-3180 or the tip line at 538-4450.