The three-alarm fire that consumed much of the Roseway Theater this month began with a power outage, Portland Fire & Rescue announced tonight.
The fire department said shortly after 6 p.m. that its investigators ruled out arson as the cause of the Aug. 6 blaze, which effectively destroyed the 97-year-old movie theater on Northeast Sandy Boulevard.
The bureau said arson investigators and Oregon State Police used a 160-ton crane to remove the charred remains from the theater roof and inspect what remained of the auditorium. “PF&R’s Arson Dog was also on hand today to assist investigators in examining the scene for signs of arson,” the statement added.
Investigators concluded the cause was an electrical problem, but not what type. “Further analysis may be required to identify the specific failures that led to this tragedy,” the fire office statement said. “We have cleared the scene and it has been turned over to private fire investigators.”
The Roseway underwent a major restoration in 2008 which included converting its projection and sound system to digital. Earlier tonight, owner Greg Wood made his first comments since the fire at The Oregoniansaying he would consider reopening but wasn’t really sure.
Last year was exceptionally bad for structural fires in Portland: the city tied its all-time record for fire fatalities. It is unclear whether structural fires have increased or decreased this year. two weeks later WW requested figures for the first time since the start of the year from PF&R, the office has not yet provided them, citing staffing shortages.