The Clatsop County Fire Investigation Team is meeting at the Seaside Fire Department today at 10:00 a.m. to get some ideas as to what caused a fire earlier this morning at the North Coast Land Conservancy office, at 32825 Rippet Ln.
By the time firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire at 5:45 a.m., the office was already engulfed in flames.
Interim Director John Wickersham arrived around 7 a.m. and said the building was already burned to the ground.
"We lost everything; the building is essentially destroyed," he said, but added that no one from the land conservancy was there at the time. "Thank God no one was hurt."
The former four-bedroom farm house has served as the NCLC office for the last six years.
"I'm still in shock, I think," he said. "I haven't really processed it yet."
Wickersham said the staff and board would be getting together as quickly as possible to discuss how to move forward.
"We need to find a temporary spot, get our phone lines transferred and get back up and running as soon as possible," he said.
Most all of their backup files were in the office, Wickersham said. "We will have to recreate everything, and basically start over."
"It's a horrific tragedy," said former board member Doug Ray, who was notified of the fire right after 911 was called. He wasn't allowed near the flaming office, but he said he could easily see the glow from the highway. "It's just like a forest after a forest fire," he said. "We just have to start over."
Seaside, Gearhart, Cannon Beach, Warrenton and Lewis and Clark fire departments all responded to the alarm.
Two other fires Tuesday night kept Seaside Fire Department busy. A two-alarm fire at 365 S. Columbia around 6:30 p.m. and a car was caught on fire north of the high school at about 9 p.m.