Hear it again: Two years after fire decimated Malden and Pine City, how are they rebuilding?
Two years ago this week, a massive wildfire in Eastern Washington nearly destroyed the towns of Malden and Pine City. The Babb Road Fire burned 15,000 acres and hundreds of buildings in just a few hours.
While progress has been slow, the people of Malden and Pine City are rebuilding and charting a new path forward.
Last year, Soundside producer Alec Cowan visited the towns of Malden and Pine City to see what recovery looked like on the one year anniversary of the Babb Road Fire. You can hear the full hour special by clicking here.
Since then, with help from FEMA, the town has built a new temporary fire station, with plans for a permanent station and community center to be completed next year. Sixty-seven homes were destroyed in the fire and 26 have now been rebuilt. (You can hear the story of the first two homes rebuilt in Soundside's special.)
Additionally, more than 40 individuals and businesses are suing Avista Utilities through a law firm based in Spokane, seeking compensation for damages caused by the fire.
A report last year from the Department of Natural Resources found that Avista neglected a sick ponderosa pine tree. The report concluded that tree fell and sparked the initial fire.
At the time of the report, Avista said there was no evidence the fire originated from its equipment, maintenance, or from its vegetation management practices.