Jul 2, 2014 9:13 PM by Q2 News

Police questioning persons of interest in Sports Authority fire

BILLINGS - The Billings' Sports Authority store is closed until further notice.

A store employee said they are awaiting the arrival of a representative with the corporate office to evaluate the store.

Fireworks are believed to be the cause of at least $500,000 worth of damage to the store on 24th Street West.

According to Battalion Chief Larry Hart, wintnesses confirm the fire started Tuesday night when some fireworks went off in the bushes in front of the building.

The fire reached the awning of the right front portion of the building.

A company spokesperson issued this statement on Wednesday:

"Shortly after closing last evening, the front exterior of our Sports Authority location in Billings caught fire due to lit fireworks. The store was safely evacuated and no one was injured. We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement in their investigation and ask those with information to call Crimestoppers at (406) 657-8200. The store will remain closed until further notice."

Engine 7 of Billings Fire Department happened to be nearby responding to another call and was able to respond quickly to the flames. Engine 5 arrived shortly after and doused the blaze with water and flame retardant.

Hart said the material was a mix of sheetrock and fiber cover.

Fire crews punched holes in the front to scan the building with thermal imaging for any additional hot spots.

Sgt. David Cardillo of the Billings Police Department said they are currently questioning persons of interest.

Cardillo said those responsible could be charged with arson or negligent arson for the incident.

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