Four investigators from the federal Department of Justice, Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives division are on site Wednesday, Oct. 31 at the scene of the devastating Forks fire. The team is looking for clues to the source of the fire that destroyed the historic circa 1925 International Order of Odd Fellows building in the morning of Monday, Oct. 29. Clallam County Fire District #1 officials have reported the fire igniting in the lower floor of the IOOF building then spreading south to the adjoining former historica Olympic Pharmacy building. The unoccupied building, which was still had Twilight decorations from its last tenant, Dazzled by Twilight, was also burnt to the ground.
In this photo the remains of the three-story shaft of the IOOF building is visible. The City of Forks owns the IOOF building and have a $3.7 million insurance policy on the building.
Mayor Bryon Monohon feared more of downtown Forks could have burned down if the fire had occurred during the unusually long dry spell of weather on the West End earlier in October and in September.
The Rainforest Art Center lost many costumes, sound equipment and other gear used to present plays on the second story of the IOOF building. The acting group paid the City of Forks $1 per year to use the building and is now regrouping. The Rainforest Players recently re-roofed the building at a cost of $35,000, and more recently installed a $32,000 HVAC heating and cooling system.
Since 1925 the first floor of the IOOF building has been rented out to local businesspeople to help pay for the hall and its upkeep. For about 18 years Tienda Latina occupied one of two retail spaces selling Latino goods, also providing money transfer services for customers with family in Mexico.