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Fire strikes Eldorado Stone again

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CARNATION - The all too familiar sight of smoke clouds greeted

the residents of Carnation last week, as a fire claimed another

one of Eldorado Stone's buildings.

The fire began around 2:45 a.m. last Friday, at the company's

8,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at 31567 West Entwhistle

Street. Three night-shift workers discovered the blaze and called

emergency crews, who arrived within minutes, officials said. No

one was injured.

Backup crews from Duvall, Redmond and Fall City were called in

to help Eastside Fire and Rescue battle the blaze. A lack of

water pressure from one of the fire hydrants, however, stalled

crews for a few minutes while they scrambled to use an alternate

water source near QFC.

"We initially took an offensive attack, but when we

determined there weren't enough fire crews and water resources,

we called it a defensive mode," said Deputy Chief Jon

Fallstrom of Eastside Fire and Rescue.

Carnation's city administrator Woody Edvalson said the water

situation stemmed not from a lack of water, but from inadequate

pressure. He explained that the city has a "gravity

feed" water system, and during times of high demand someone

needs to physically turn on the well in Loutsis Park.

Another issue is that some of the city's water pipes - mostly

in the downtown residential area - are much smaller than today's

8-inch standard pipe. The city is planning to upgrade its water

system, which might include installing a supplemental system that

would turn on the water well automatically during times of

emergency, Edvalson said.

Despite the initial problems, firefighters were able to

contain the blaze within several hours and kept it from spreading

through the building, said Fallstrom. Much of the right side of

the concrete structure that had "1941" on its side was

spared, but the adjoining wood-frame structure was destroyed,

leaving behind charred remains.

The building on West Entwhistle was the company's shipping and

production center. Eldorado Stone moved its main office to the

old IOOF building on Tolt Avenue after the first fire.

"It was deja vu," said owner John Bennet of the

latest fire, which also coincidentally erupted before a major

holiday weekend. The last fire, which totally destroyed the

building that housed Eldorado Stone and NAPA Auto Parts, happened

the week before the Fourth of July.

Though the fire has once again put a halt to production, it

has not broken the spirits of the company and its workers.

"We intend to keep everyone working," Bennett said.

"This was a hit to production, but we can set up

again."

The King County Fire Marshal has not yet determined the cause

of the blaze, which officials said caused about $500,000 in

damage.

"We need to see what the cause was, [because] it was

mysterious," said Bennett. "The building had little

electricity and there wasn't much to catch fire."

The previous fire, on June 30, was blamed on a faulty space

heater in Eldorado Stone's drying room.

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