Fire official: Crestline fire used 90 percent of agency's resources

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Find stories, videos and photos on the fire that destroyed Crestline Elementary School.

The investigation into what caused the three-alarm fire that destroyed Crestline Elementary early Sunday morning continues into its fifth day.

The agency has finished conducting interviews and is now working to piece together that information with physical evidence found in the school’s rubble, Vancouver Fire Capt. Kevin Murray said Wednesday morning.

“It’s a significant puzzle piece,” he said. “Because of the size and scope of the fire, it’s going to take a while.”

Looking back on the fire call, which came in at 3:17 a.m. Sunday, Murray said the agency is lucky that another fire or a handful of medical calls did not come in during their attack of the blaze.

“We had 90 percent of our assets on that fire,” he said. “We were still running the normal amount of calls. Basically, we had one or two engines that were out and about covering the whole city.”

By 4:25 a.m., the fire was upgraded to a three-alarm fire. In all, nine fire engines, three fire trucks, two battalion chiefs and several safety personnel — 38 total personnel — were at the scene.

Murray added that resources from Portland Fire & Rescue helped cover the city during the fire.

Nearly 500 students were displaced by the fire, but Evergreen Public Schools officials worked to disperse the students to other schools, with classes resuming for Crestline students on today.