Fire sweeps through conservancy near Seaside

NEAR SEASIDE, Ore. - Fire destroyed a nature conservancy facility near Seaside on the Oregon Coast early Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported.

The Seaside Fire Department began fighting the 2-alarm fire at the North Coast Land Conservancy building at about 5:30 a.m.

Chris Dugan, Fire Marshall Division Chief with the Seaside Fire Department, said several local fire departments cooperated to fight the fire. "When we got here, the house was fully involved," he said.

The building, located about a mile south of Seaside near Highway 101, also housed historical artifacts. "It's almost like a museum inside, they had a lot of beautiful artwork," Dugan said.

Dugan said they needed water tenders from local fire departments to fight the fire since there are no hydrants near the building.

He said the building was once the family home on a dairy farm.

Jon Wickersham, Interim Director of the conservancy, said he got a call about the fire at about 7 a.m. and went to the scene. "By the time I got here, it was already on the ground," he said.

Wickersham said the building was a meeting and activity center for several organizations. "It just happens to be our office on top of all that too."

He said the organization celebrated 25 years of operation last year and all of the records, maps, files and other items collected over that time were lost in the fire. "Displays and all those types of things you gather over 25 years were all inside the house," he said. "We lost essentially everything."

"It's pretty tough and were just trying to figure out the best way to move forward from here," Wickersham said. "It's not a question of if were going to move forward, we're going to move forward and make the best of this."

There was no immediate damage estimate but the building appeared to be nearly destroyed.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.