Oyster House in downtown Olympia destroyed by fire

Staff writerJuly 19, 2013 

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The Oyster House on Fourth Avenue in downtown Olympia caught fire and was destroyed after midnight Friday morning, according to Olympia Deputy Fire Chief Greg Wright.

A passerby called 911 about 12:17 a.m. to report smoke in the building, according to an emergency dispatcher. The popular restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Olympia near Percival Landing.

"Crews went inside and on the roof, but weren't able to get the fire out, the fire overwhelmed the building," Wright said. "At about 12:45 we went defensive and started pouring water from the outside."

No one was inside during the two-alarm fire. Wright said that the owner had closed the Oyster House after 10 p.m.

The owners plan to rebuild.

"We have a lot of loyal customers," owner Tom Barrett said Friday, adding they planned to rebuild as close as possible.

Wright said that the nearby Lakefair celebration on Capitol Lake - a fair which includes carnival rides and a Ferris wheel - was winding up by the time the fire started. There is nothing to suggest there is anything suspicious about the fire, but its cause is under investigation, he added.

Firefighters from all over Thurston County responded to the two-alarm blaze. The Lacey Fire Department, the Tumwater Fire Department, the McLane/Black Lake Fire District, North Olympia Fire District 7, South Bay Fire District 8, East Olympia Fire District 6, and others, all responded to help Olympia firefighters, Wright said.

"This is what we train for, is just situations like this," Wright said.

Wright said one firefighter suffered a burned hand, but he received medical attention at the scene and did not need to go to an area hospital.

A building inspector from the city of Olympia was on scene about 4 a.m. Friday and was examining the structural integrity of the remains of the popular seafood restaurant.

Wright said about 4 a.m. that firefighters were still putting out hotspots.

"Anytime we have a big fire loss anywhere in the city it's bad for the community," he said.

Fourth Avenue has been closed since the fire, from Columbia to Simmons Street, Wright said. Olympia officials said there would be detours to Fifth Avenue from the area of Percival Landing Friday morning.


Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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