Aug. 22—The Lewiston Police Department identified Stephanie Anne Greene, 68, of Lewiston, as the person who died in an Aug. 9 fire that destroyed a Normal Hill house that had been converted into apartment units.
Detective Cody Bloomsburg said it took some time to release the name because of difficulty identifying Greene's remains, an ongoing police investigation of the fire and complicated efforts to reach any next of kin that were ultimately unsuccessful.
Her body was located in the second-floor apartment where the fire originated, he added.
The Lewiston Fire Department determined that faulty wiring in the historic home at 428 Fifth St. caused the fire.
An autopsy conducted by the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office revealed that Greene inhaled smoke during the fire, but an official cause of death has not been determined.
Investigators detained and questioned a person of interest on the day of the fire because police had contacted him the previous day about removing furniture from the apartment where Greene died and piling it in the yard. The man stated it was his intention to light the items on fire to get rid of bedbugs, Bloomsburg said, so police located him after the fire for questioning.
But the man was able to provide an alibi, and police were unable to otherwise prove that he was at the building when the fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m.
"That person was released, and no charges are pending, but we have not concluded our investigation," Bloomsburg said. "We have nothing to contradict what the fire department has concluded with their investigation at all. They are the professionals with this, and they do a great job. We absolutely depend on the fire department and their investigators when it comes to something like this."
Lewiston Fire Chief Travis Myklebust said Friday that his department's investigation into the fire has concluded. Bloomsburg said he expects the police investigation will be wrapped up soon.
Mills may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2266.