Historical buildings on Spring and First Streets catch fire

Editors Note: this story has been updated at 5:00 p.m.

Smoke billowed over the Town of Friday Harbor and areas of Spring and First Street were blocked off to traffic, on the morning of April 7, as firefighters worked to extinguish a fire that originated in the Windermere building, according to Kim Kimple, Public Information Officer for Orcas Fire and Rescue.

The incident was phoned in at 3:43 a.m. by a passing tow truck driver, Kimple said. By 8:00 a.m., flames appeared to die down in the upper stories of the buildings, only to reemerge. The fire was serious enough that some Orcas Fire and Lopez personnel were requested to assist. Washington State Ferry Service also dispatched a ferry for the transport of emergency personnel and apparatus.

Kimple confirmed that by 12:30 p.m. investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive had arrived on scene.“This does not necessarily mean the fire is suspicious, however, that will but up to investigators to determine,” she said, adding that it was her understanding the agents were called because additional resources were needed.

There are no reported injuries, no reports of anyone located inside the buildings.

To support the owners of businesses lost or damaged in the fire, the San Juan Economic Development Council and the SanJuan Island Chamber of Commerce has set up a donation link.

A message from the EDC stated “While all of [the busineses] have insurance, there will be lots of expenses that aren’t covered.

The EDC has set up a donation page, in partnership with the Chamber, so folks can help. We’re also working to find additional emergency funding from Commerce, the County and the Town, to start the work of rebuilding the heart of Friday Harbor.”

To donate, visit https://www.paypal.com/donate/

The EDC statement also explained that a grant application process will be set up once more is known about where the greatest need is and provide funding to those most affected by fire losses.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.