Oyster House fire may have started in kitchen, bathroom areas

cause under investigation; owner vows to rebuild

Staff writerJuly 19, 2013 

Fire investigators focused on the kitchen and bathroom areas of the Oyster House Friday morning as they tried to determine what caused the historic restaurant in downtown Olympia to burn down shortly after midnight.

The cause of the fire is unknown, Olympia Deputy Fire Chief Greg Wright said.

Wright explained that the kitchen and adjacent bathroom areas of the Oyster House do not have heavy window exposure, and that could have contributed to the fire smoldering for up to close to two hours before it was reported to 911 by a passerby about 12:17 a.m.


There is no indication that the fire is suspicious, Wright said.


Wright said Friday morning that crews have pulled down the top part of several of the restaurant's walls "because they were unstable" and it was unsafe for the fire investigators as they scoured through debris.


No one was in the restaurant when the fire was reported. The co-owner of the Oyster House had closed and locked up after 10 p.m Friday before the fire started, Wright said.


"It had some time to get ahead of us, Wright said.


The two-alarm fire brought a response from fire districts all over Thurston County during Capital Lakefair, a carnival at the nearby Capitol Lake that brings visitors - and traffic - from all over the South Sound.


All lanes of Fourth Avenue near the Oyster House had reopened to traffic Friday morning, a relief for commuters before the heavy traffic anticipated for Lakefair had started.

The Oyster House's owners could not immediately be reached for comment Friday morning, but Wright said they have told him they have every intention of rebuilding and bringing a restaurant back to the site.


"I'd definitely like to see it come back," Wright said. "I'd like to go back and eat there."


Wright explained that the site of the Oyster House on Percival Landing has special historic significance in Olympia. It has been a location for Olympia's oyster industry since the late 1800s. In the early part of the 20th century, it was a home to an oyster pressing and shucking business, and the location has been a seafood restaurant since the 1940s.



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

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