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News / Clark County News

44-year-old woman found dead in shop fire north of Ridgefield

Medical Examiner provided ID, cause of death still unknown

By Chrissy Booker, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 6, 2024, 11:48am

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday identified a 44-year-old woman as the person found dead in a shop fire north of Ridgefield on Monday morning.

Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue crews found Melissa Adams of Ridgefield dead inside the shop after knocking down the fire about 8:30 a.m.

The cause and manner of Adams’ death are pending, the medical examiner’s office said.

Clark County Deputy Fire Marshal Rick Searls previously said Adams was the only person inside the shop at the time of the fire.

The fire department responded at 7:03 a.m. to the fire in the 29400 block of Northwest 51st Avenue, a rural road east of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

When crews arrived, they found the roughly 40-by-80-foot shop engulfed in flames, according to Fire Chief John Nohr.

Bystanders told firefighters someone might still be inside. Nohr said people lived in a recreational vehicle next to the shop, but there was a room inside the shop they spent time in.

Another resident arrived shortly after firefighters and tried to go inside. Firefighters had to restrain the person due to the risk of going inside without protective gear, according to a fire agency news release. Crews also released chickens from a chicken coop as the fire spread nearby.

The shop, RV and a car were destroyed in the fire, Nohr said.

The fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire.