Wiring blamed for Confidence Inn fire

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

The cause of a fire that damaged the Confidence Inn on Sept. 30 was determined to be electrical wiring in the attic, the owner said.

Patricia Clement, of Confidence, said she was called Thursday afternoon by a representative from the Koenig and Associates insurance agency and was told the cause had been jointly determined by insurance investigators and local fire investigators to be accidental.

An insurance company spokesman confirmed the call, but would not divulge what information was given, citing client privacy.

Tuolumne County Fire Department investigators could not be reached for comment.

The fire was reported about 5:30 a.m. by a passing motorist. It was contained about an hour later by firefighters, who stopped the fire from spreading to other parts of the building and to the adjacent closed restaurant.

Damages were originally estimated at $200,000, then increased to $250,000, but Clement thinks losses are probably closer to $300,000.

Looting has also been a concern, she said.

She has called Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office twice since the fire, when she saw people looking inside the bar.

"Everyone wanted a souvenir," she said, but she doesn't specifically know if anything was taken. The historic building opened in 1926.

After the fire, Clement said "of course" she would look into restoring the building, because "it was my life for 20 years," but she is not sure if it will be possible with today's costs.

The Union Democrat
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