State warns Ridgefield company it may be liable for fire cost

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OLYMPIA (AP) -- Washington state has warned a construction company that it will be liable for property damages and firefighting costs if investigators determine its work started a wildfire northwest of Ellensburg.

The Washington state Department of Transportation notified Ridgefield-based Conway Construction Co. by letter on Friday that its contract makes the company responsible for safety at the work site, especially risks of fire.

The Taylor Bridge Fire is believed to have originated Aug. 13 at a bridge construction site near Cle Elum. The project is under contract to Conway Construction and its subcontractors.

The Department of Natural Resources has not yet completed its investigation into the fire's cause.

The fire blackened more than 36 square miles, or 23,500 acres, and destroyed nearly 100 structures. It was fully contained at the end of August.