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Oily rags likely cause of Forest Grove sports bar fire

Popular Forest Grove eatery Prime Time burns in early Wednesday morning fire
by: Courtesy Prime Time restaurant in Forest Grove burns in Wednesday morning fire.

Prime Time restaurant in Forest Grove suffered a massive fire early last Wednesday morning, with most of the building burned to the ground.

On Monday, investigators said foul play had been ruled out in the fire, which was likely caused by oily rags igniting over night.

Forest Grove firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after 4 a.m. Nov. 23 and found thick, black smoke coming from the building, according to Fire Marshall Dave Nemeyer. After entering the back of the building, the crew quickly determined that it was unsafe to proceed any further and called for reinforcements, which came from across Washington County.

Multiple units worked to contain the three-alarm blaze most of the morning and while crews were able to salvage some items, the building appears to be a total loss.

"This is huge hit to the community." Nemeyer said. "This is a place that a lot of people go to."

Nemeyer said crews were able to save some sports memorabilia, pool equipment and historic photos, as well as the safe and cash registers.

"Today was payday," he noted. "So at least the employees will get their checks."

Still, the loss of jobs over the holidays will likely put a strain on many workers, and patrons quickly set up a fund to help them along. An account has been set up for Primetime employees and their families at Columbia Community Bank.

A contribution can be made in person or by mail at any Columbia Community Bank Branch. Checks should be made out to 'FBO Prime Time Employees'

The Forest Grove branch is located at 2811 19th Ave. Suite A, Forest Grove, 97116.

If you have any questions, contact the bank at 503-992-8600

A volunteer firefighter from the Gales Creek station was taken to a local hospital suffering from overexertion, Nemeyer said, but is expected to make a full recovery.

The cause of the blaze is still unknown.