Fire Destroys Colville Business Council Headquarters, Tribal Records Lost
A fire of unknown origin decimated the tribal headquarters on the Colville Indian Reservation in Nespelem, Washington on Monday morning, the Associated Press reported.
Business Council Chairman Mike Finley called the three-story building that housed the business council and support staff for the Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Reservation "a total loss."
No injuries have been reported; the building is believed to have been empty when the fire broke out at about 1 a.m. It was not related to a wildfire, officials told the AP.
Tribal records were lost in the incident, and services to residents will be affected, Finley told the AP. The building additionally contained computers and personal items of the tribes’ 14 council members, as well as files of support staff and other government offices.
"The governing body no longer has a place to operate," Finley told The Columbian. "Our tribal government is homeless."
The tribe was in the process of planning for a new government center, so the recent incident will jumpstart those plans, Finley said. Meanwhile, officials will try to find office space in other tribal offices.
The confederation, located on a 1.4 million-acre reservation in northeast Washington, includes 12 tribes and accounts for 9,470 members. The Colville Tribe operates 13 enterprises ranging from gaming, recreation and tourism to retail, construction and wood products.