Cause of fire that gutted office building ruled ’undetermined’ |

Cause of fire that gutted office building ruled ’undetermined’

The cause of an early Sunday fire that gutted a vacant office building has been ruled as undetermined, authorities said.

The fire does appear to be human caused, with indicators pointing to the fire starting in the rear (freeway side) of the building in the area of a stairwell at ground level, Grass Valley/Nevada City Fire Division Chief Sam Goodspeed said.

Because of the amount of fire damage to the building, they were able to determine the origin, but not the cause, he said, adding there was no sign of any machinery or electric malfunction.

The fire had been burning for some time prior to its detection, resulting in the building being 25% involved upon arrival of the first arriving firefighters, Goodspeed said. The fire was reported at 4:43 a.m., with firefighters arriving six minutes later.

No one was located inside. Goodspeed said the suspicion is that the fire was caused by trespassers, adding, “We don’t have any suspects.”

The three-alarm fire inside the 15,000-square-foot building drew a multi-county response that included units and personnel from Grass Valley, Nevada City, Nevada County Consolidated, Cal Fire, Penn Valley, Ophir Hill, Rough and Ready and Peardale-Chicago Park fire departments, as well as additional units from Placer County, Auburn and Yuba City, Goodspeed said. Firefighters remained at the scene until about 1 p.m. Sunday to help fire investigators and extinguish hot spots within the debris.

“The property owner will be working to secure and remove the debris,” Goodspeed said. “They will move swiftly to bring down the rest of the building.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

An early Sunday fire gutted an office building on Nevada City Highway.
Liz Kellar

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