YAKIMA--A rat chewing on an electrical wire started the fire at Yakima's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 397, according to the Yakima Fire Department.
Investigators determined Friday that a rat chewed through a cord connected to a juke box, setting the rat on fire. The rat ran to its nest, which was filled with combustible material. A private investigator hired by the VFW's insurance company supported the findings.
The fire started shortly before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, closing Fifth and Walnut Avenues for several hours. Firefighters saved the building but not without heavy damage. Nearly all of the antique war memorabilia, some dating back to World Wars I and II, was destroyed.
Damages are estimated to be more than one million dollars.