Cause Determined In Hillside Bible Church Fire

Investigators have determined the probable cause of the 2 Alarm fire the destroyed the Hillside Bible Church near Gales Creek on Saturday. 

Investigators talked with witnesses and individuals associated with the church and determined that an electrical failure in a void space in between the basement and main floor caused the fire. 

Initial reports from 911 said the front of the church was on fire. 

First arriving crews found the church to be fully engulfed in flames and requested a 2nd Alarm be dispatched to bring additional firefighters and equipment to the scene. Five minutes after arrival while crews were fighting the flames, the steeple and roof collapsed.

No firefighters were injured in the building collapse.

Due to the incident being located in a rural area, there were no fire hydrants nearby and water had to be trucked to the scene in tankers, which hampered the firefighting effort.

It took firefighters approximately an hour to extinguish a bulk of the fire and several more hours putting out hotspots. 

No one was at the church when the fire was reported and no civilians were injured. 

One firefighter from Banks Fire District received burns to a hand and was treated on scene. 

The building is considered a total loss. 

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