UPDATE: Friday – 6/28/2013, 5:30pm ET
WASHINGTON – Fire investigators confirmed Friday that discarded smoking materials ignited the fire that destroyed Frager’s Hardware.
The fire was ruled accidental, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives said in a statement.
(Investigators determined the fire began on the 11th Street side of the building and was likely sparked by “the careless discard of smoking material,” the statement said.
Working with the D.C. Fire and Metropolitan Police departments, investigators interviewed witnesses, analyzed electrical engineering and fire protection engineering and digital media.
EARLIER:Thursday – 6/27/2013, 6:16pm ET
WASHINGTON – The ferocious fire that ravaged a Capitol Hill landmark earlier this month most likely began after an employee dropped a cigarette butt into a bucket in the alley, the Washington Post reports.
The Post, citing two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the investigation, says officials believe the fire was accidental.
Investigators have interviewed a 23-year-old employee seen on surveillance video taking a smoke break shortly before the fire was reported, the Post reports.
Investigators tell the Post that the alley space is used to store wooden beams, bags of cement and other supplies for the hardware store.
Officials pinpointed a plastic bucket as the point of origin for the fire, the Post reports.
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Photos and stories by the Associated Press from 70 years ago this week.