News

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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