Fire at downtown church caught quickly, building saved

Unusual series of events keeps this a mostly good news story

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An Olympia police officer spotted a downtown commercial structure fire born out of a porta potty behind the building at 2:14 a.m. last night while responding to another dispatch call.

Olympia Fire was able to respond within two minutes to find the fire on the exterior of the GloryHouse Foursquare Church at 600 Legion Way SE, putting out the fire by 2:36 a.m., May 1, with a minor extension inside the structure.

Olympia Fire Assistant Chief Operations Kevin Bossard told The JOLT that it is fortunate that the building didn’t sustain substantial loss from the fire.

“The fire barely got into the wall and into the attic,” Bossard said. “The Olympia police were dispatched to another call and were driving by when they noticed the fire and called it in. We had a two-minute response time from Olympia Fire because the first due unit was already in the area, returning from another call. That quick response time made the difference in preventing a more substantial loss to the structure.”

The building which is divided between Jerry’s Automotive and GloryHouse Foursquare Church did not have a commercial fire alarm system in place.

Bossard said some older buildings in Olympia do not have fire alarm systems, and if the structure was built today, and over 5,000 square feet, it would have one now. Some of the existing – nonconforming structures are not required to be updated with systems unless there is a change of use, or significant remodel.

“If the adjacent, uninvolved structure was built today, the involved structure would most likely have had a fire alarm system extended into it,” Bossard said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by Olympia Fire and Olympia Police. The portable restroom at the location, where the fire started, was completely destroyed prior to the first unit’s arrival. No injuries were reported.

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