Rapid wildfire burned Kennewick roofing business off U.S. 395 near Southridge

UPDATE at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 23: Firefighters from across the Tri-Cities region faced many challenges while combatting a wildfire that spread to an industrial building off U.S. 395 near the Southridge area of Kennewick on Friday night.

Yet through it all, the wildfire and subsequent structure fire at CentiMark Roofing were brought under control and no longer pose a threat to the public thanks to thoughtful and intense response efforts from the region’s fire crews.

Firefighters have now learned that the blaze was started by a buildup of carbon from a large commercial vehicle that was driving along I-82 in the area. Although Kennewick fire investigators collected evidence, they weren’t able to identify a specific truck.

Combustible materials along the side of the CentiMark Roofing building spelled trouble when the fast-moving blaze was pushed toward the structure by high-speed winds and dry/flammable natural fuels along the way.

Firefighters finally brought the structure fire under control by 9:30 p.m. while others, who contained the wildfire, monitored for hot spots. This effort lasted deep into the night as crews stuck around to make sure that it wouldn’t reignite.

NEW DETAILS at 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 22: Heavy winds are making firefighting efforts difficult near U.S. 395 in the Southridge area, threatening homes near 40th and 41st Avenues.

According to fire officials at the scene, the blaze has grown to roughly 70 acres of natural land. The initial structure where the fire is believed to have started is through its second full hour of burning.

Despite the circumstances, no homes have been damaged and no injuries have been reported up to this point. Although evacuations have been lifted, residents are still being asked to remain inside.


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KENNEWICK, Wash. — A structure fire spread to vegetation located off U.S. 395 near Southridge Blvd, sending large plumes of smoke while threatening nearby homes.

KAPP-KVEW’s Rylee Fitzgerald is at the scene, where a large-scale firefighting response includes crews from across the Kennewick Fire Department and Benton County Fire Districts.

Police are also at the scene to assist with the efforts and aid community members whose homes might be in danger.

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The fire is located close to the Brinkley Industrial Park, eyewitnesses say. Commuters are asked to avoid the area with southbound lanes of U.S. 395 closed to thru traffic.

Chief Lonnie Click of Benton County Fire District No. 1 told KAPP-KVEW that the fire started on Interstate 82 and jumper the highway. The cause of the fire is unclear at this stage. Crews from Walla Walla Fire District No. 5 have also rushed to the scene to assist with fire containment efforts.

This is a developing news story. An update and/or follow-up will be issued if further details are announced.


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