North Bend’s Eastside Fire and Rescue Station 87, along with other local fire departments including Snoqualmie and Fall City, worked together on Christmas Day to put out two large fires at homes in the Valley.
Eastside Fire and Rescue Captain Steve Westlake said at 4:15 p.m., Dec. 25, firefighters responded to a call about a fire at a home on 473rd Avenue SE, North Bend. Both Snoqualmie and Fall City Fire Departments responded, along with Eastside Fire from North Bend. Snow and ice slowed down the trucks, and when firefighters arrived they found the garage next to the home completely engulfed in flames.
Westlake said the crew’s main objective was to keep the fire from spreading to the house. The homeowners were not at the scene to describe what had caused the fire. At 8 p.m., firefighters left the scene after having fully extinguished the fire.
At 11:24 p.m., Eastside Fire and Rescue received another call of a fire on NE 45th Street, Carnation. Westlake said there was one person at the house who escaped and met the crews outside when they arrived at the scene.
“This was also described as fully involved (meaning the fire had engulfed the building) and it was a defensive fire,” Westlake said. “We call them defensive fires when we aren’t able to go inside, the fire is too far advanced and there is a chance of roof collapse or ceiling collapse on (the firefighters).”
Fall City, Duvall and Redmond fire departments also responded. During the incident, one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion, but was not hospitalized. The crews wrapped up at 6 a.m. the next morning.
Westlake said that fires during the holidays are not a consistent occurrence, but observed that it seemed there were more fires around the region than usual during the holiday this year.
“There were at least 10 working fires across the county this weekend,” he said.
As for the causes of the two Valley fires, Westlake said the King County Fire Investigators are still looking into finding the origin of the fires.
“None of these (causes) were Christmas trees,” he said. “Most fires we see are either from cooking or electric — don’t overload your circuits and your wall outlets with lights.”
He also recommended other holiday safety tips including cleaning chimneys for those who burn wood in their fireplaces and for drivers to be extra careful when traveling in icy conditions.