Cause of airport fire undetermined

File photo of Oct. 12 fire at Pinedale Airport.

PINEDALE – The final investigation of

the October 2018 fire at the Pinedale Airport

was completed and the official cause is

“undetermined,” despite suspicious circumstances.

The Sublette County Unified Fire Department

responded in the early evening of Oct.

12 to the fully engulfed storage building used

by the town of Pinedale.

Once extinguished, the area was secured

and the Wyoming State Fire Marshal investigated

with investigators from Sublette

County Unified Fire.

Airport Manager Jim Parker, the first to

arrive on the scene, told investigators that he

felt a piece of equipment he put away earlier

in the day had been moved.

According to the fire marshal’s report, the

fire started in the cab of a Massey Ferguson

tractor parked in the storage facility.

Burn patterns indicated that the fire originated

in the tractor’s cab, traveled to the front

of the tractor and ignited the front tires and a

pallet under the tractor, the report states.

The fire then moved up the wall to the

building’s rafters causing the roof to collapse.

“While investigating the cab of the tractor

a combustible gas detector was used and it

indicated the presence of an accelerant,” the

report states.

There was also a strong odor resembling

mothballs, according to the report.

Once the fuel cap was removed, the mothball

odor became stronger, the report states.

The gas tank also had “a slimy sludge” in

the tank.

“Due to the fact that Mr. Parker stated the

main garage door was closed when he left,

the tractor had been moved from where Mr.

Parker had left, the detected presence of an

accelerant, and the strong odor resembling

mothballs, there is strong circumstantial evidence

of an incendiary fire with no physical

evidence to support this claim,” the conclusion

of the report states.


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