See our previous story: Missing person sought after major structure fire
On 4/21/2020, a Unified Command Team was established to help coordinate fire investigation efforts. Members of this team included the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Fire Marshal, Douglas County Coroner, Douglas County Fire District #1, and the Town of Waterville. Due to the size of the scene, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue was contacted for the assistance of their cadaver-trained detection K-9. The K-9 identified areas within the fire scene to help guide investigators to check for the unaccounted person. Due to the amount and size of the debris, heavy equipment had to be mobilized to the scene to assist with further search efforts.
On 4/22/2020, Douglas County Detectives, Coroner, and Fire Marshal re-entered the fire scene to conduct a search for the unaccounted subject and attempt to determine the cause of the fire. As a result of the search and the assistance of the heavy equipment, one deceased subject was located within the debris. The subject located has not yet been positively identified, but is believed to be the property owner, 87-year-old Waterville resident Ray D. Kope. The Douglas County Coroner will work to confirm the identity. The Douglas County Fire Marshal has concluded his investigation work at the scene and determined the cause of the fire to be accidental.