Kennewick firefighters saved the former Slurpee King 7-Eleven store from interior damage after a fire started outside the building at 3606 W. Clearwater Avenue.
The fire was reported at 1:11 p.m. Sunday by callers who feared the fire was spreading to the building, according to Deputy Fire Chief Michael Heffner.
Firefighters found a couch burning outside the building, sending flames and heavy smoke up the building’s block wall toward the front overhang of the store.
Firefighters quickly put out the fire and then checked the roof for any spread of the fire, before determining the fire had not spread to the inside of the building.
Officers from the Kennewick Police Department responded to investigate what or who started the fire, but no witnesses were found and the exact cause remains unknown, according to a press release.
For a long time the former Tri-Cities convenience store sold more Slurpees than anywhere else in the world. But the business struggled to remain open during COVID shutdowns, before shuttering completely at the end of 2021.
At the first of the year the 2,500-square-foot store was advertised for sale for $875,000.
The 7-11 store earned the Slurpee King nickname in 2007 when it was named the Slurpee Capitol of the U.S. for selling more of the icy drinks than any other location in the country, according to a news release about the contest.
At the time, owner Don Mariotto attributed the success to doubling their machines and flavors, and a loyal customer base made up of regulars and sports teams from the nearby Kamiakin High.
It didn’t hurt that at the time in the heat of August, the Kamiakin football team was regularly stopping by after practice to cool down.
The next year they took the Slurpee King of the World crown, having sold more Slurpees than any other location in the world for most of the year, according to Herald archives.