Blaze nearly destroys home

SNOQUALMIE — A fire engulfed a home east of

Snoqualmie Ridge Aug. 8, causing almost $500,000 in damage.

Flames had already reached the roof of the split-level house,

located in the 36200 block of 89th Place, when fire units arrived 14 minutes later —

a time fire officials said was quick, considering they had to travel on a

one-lane dirt road to reach the scene.

"It had a real good foothold before anyone had arrived," said Bob

Rowe, deputy chief of the Snoqualmie Department of Public Safety-Fire

Division, who was first to arrive at the scene. "And with a house that far

back in the woods, there wasn't any type of early detection system."

It took more than 30 firefighters about an hour to get the blaze

under control. The nearest fire hydrant was about a mile away, so four

3,000-gallon water tender trucks were brought in, in addition to the seven

engines from Eastside Fire & Rescue, Snoqualmie and Maple Valley.

The Fall City Fire Department also helped out by supplying a water tender truck.

The house suffered severe damage, but the lower level and garage

were saved. There were no injuries, though firefighters were monitored by

medics for dehydration.

Officials said it was fortunate that nearby trees and grasses did not

ignite because it would have caused a wildfire and posed a threat to

neighboring property.

"Thank goodness the wind wasn't blowing or we would've had a

forest fire or brush fire on top of that,"

Rowe said, adding that dry conditions and warm weather can be a recipe for

disaster during a fire.

Nobody was home when the blaze started shortly before 2 p.m.

Neighbor Michael Peterson discovered the fire when his dog, Griz, was

barking toward the woods and "acting

funny." As he walked through the trees that separate the homes, Peterson said

he heard a "popping and cracking" noise, and finally saw flames and smoke

rising from the roof.

Peterson told crews two dogs were probably inside the burning home,

so firefighter Rick Scriven cut a hole through the garage door with

a chainsaw to rescue the animals.

"When I opened up this hole and stuck my head in, there were two

rottweilers," he said. They were so excited to see him one dog licked

his face. "I'm really happy that we didn't have any dog fatalities."

Williams said the homeowner had been out playing golf before

arriving home to find his house on fire. Officials have estimated structure

damage to be $400,000, with an additional $50,000 to $100,000 damage to

the home's contents.

To make matters worse, the home is located in an unincorporated

King County neighborhood that is not covered by a fire district, so the

homeowner will be billed approximately $20,000 for fire services.

"It's scary to have to spend $10,000 to $20,000 out of pocket

for fire expenses. It's a real burden," Peterson said, adding that this is

the third fire within eight years for the neighborhood. He said it's time

for residents to band together and contract with a fire district.

However, fire officials said they will always respond to a fire,

regardless of what district it's in.

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