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Investigators seek clues to North Coast Land Conservancy fire

Office was too hot to enter for a day afterward, fire officials said

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Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 11:19 am | Updated: 12:02 pm, Thu Dec 6, 2012.

SEASIDE — Fire investigators were unable to begin searching for a cause of the fire that destroyed the North Coast Land Conservancy’s office Wednesday because the fire remained too hot all day, said Chris Dugan, division chief of the Seaside Fire Department.

The Clatsop County Fire Investigation Team plans to visit the site this morning to start looking for clues, Dugan said.

The office was located in a former four-bedroom farmhouse built in 1980. For about six years, the North Coast Land Conservancy had used the house as the organization’s headquarters. Most of the conservancy’s records and some original photographs and artwork were destroyed in the fire, which was discovered at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The fire was one of three that occurred Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. However, the fires were not related.

A lit candle that caught bedding on fire in an apartment at 365 S. Columbia St. caused $20,000 in damage to the building and $10,000 to the contents. The fire started at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The building is owned by Bill Maclean.

The apartment’s renter, Cherie Bockover, lost everything in the apartment, and she had no insurance, Dugan said. One of three of Bockover’s cats died, and two are missing.

Five families were forced to move out of the complex temporarily. Three have found shelter, and the American Red Cross is helping two other families.

In a third incident, an abandoned vehicle caught fire behind a house at 2080 N. Roosevelt Drive. The house was the scene of two separate fires in October. Those fires, as well as the cause of the vehicle fire, are under investigation.

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