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No Arson in Butte Tire Warehouse Fire

(Butte Flathead Beacon) Butte fire investigators say they can’t figure out what caused the blaze that destroyed a tire warehouse, but they know it wasn’t intentionally set.

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Fire marshal John Lasky said the cause of the June 11 fire, which destroyed the Whalen Tire Distribution Center, is "undetermined."

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Lasky said he was able to rule out arson because video cameras show no suspicious activity in the area of the warehouse before the fire, burn patterns don’t indicate an intentionally set blaze and there was no apparent motive.

Firefighters responding to the scene at 3 a.m. reported that the building was locked and there were no signs of forced entry to any of the doors or windows, he said.

Lasky said investigators believe the fire originated in the central area of the warehouse on the first floor.

Despite ruling out arson, investigators can’t prove what started the blaze, which burned about 20,000 tires worth an estimated $1.7 million.

Jeff Miller, fire services director, said the fire burned for several days and destroyed any evidence that could have given investigators a clue to the actual cause.

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Two smaller fires reported near the warehouse that same morning were intentionally set, fire officials have said. (Tire Review/Akron)

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