REDDING, Calif. - Fire investigators have confirmed the late night fire that destroyed a Redding office building was caused by illegal fireworks.
It broke out at 1212 South Street in Redding just before 11 p.m. Thursday.
The building houses several offices including the dental practice of Dr. David Lee.
When firefighters arrived, the building was 25% involved in flames with fire coming from the attic.
Redding Fire Inspector Craig Wittner said the fire originated in the landscape shrubbery and entered the building through the roof eaves. Firefighters contained the fire to the attic, but the remainder of the building suffered extensive smoke and water damage.
Wittner said the fire was sparked by illegal fireworks. Witnesses said they saw and heard aerial fireworks in the area prior to the fire. The fireworks landed and ignited vegetation against the building.
Three or more white men, possibly juveniles, were seen lighting fireworks and running from the area after the fire started. Investigators collected evidence at the scene that may prove helpful in identifying those people responsible for the fire.
Fire officials urge anyone with information to call the Redding Fire Department at (530) 225-4141 or (530) 225-4534.
The fireworks ignited fires on three corners at the intersection of South and East Streets. The other two smaller fires were extinguished by witnesses.
One witness told KRCR News Channel 7 she saw kids running from the fire, laughing. The witness said the kids were between 12 and 15-years-old.
Damage to the building is estimated at $250,000. Damage to the contents is estimated at $100,000.
"Sadly this is yet another example of damage caused by illegal firework use," said Fire Inspector Craig Wittner in a written news release. "Fireworks of all types are not allowed in Shasta County unless a valid permit has been issued by fire authorities."