Statement issued by Colville Tribes Chairman John Sirois on loss of longhouse:
Our community, especially the Longhouse Community, stand in a state of shock a day after Christmas. At approximately 12:30 a.m. this morning, a fire broke out at the Chief Joseph Nez Perce Long House and it completely burned to the ground despite a valiant effort to save the structure. It is reported the fire response team arrived minutes after the blaze started, however the flames were such that the fire rendered the building a total loss. Tribal Police are investigating the scene and all preliminary evidence suggests that an electrical malfunction was the cause of the blaze. More details will be released when the investigation is complete. The Colville Tribes’ insurance company has been notified and efforts to replace the structure are underway.
This building was more than a place of worship; it was a place of giving and a place of teaching and love. Our prayers are with all those families affected and we ask that our heavy hearts are lifted in time.