Illegal burning likely caused house fire

VIFR crews work to put out a blaze at a small home on Maury Island Monday afternoon.   - Father Tryphon Photo
VIFR crews work to put out a blaze at a small home on Maury Island Monday afternoon.
— image credit: Father Tryphon Photo

A fire that caused structural damage at a home on Maury Island Monday appeared to have been caused by a brush fire that ignited after residents burned debris near the home the day before, firefighters said.

George Brown, assistant fire chief at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, said a large crew of both paid staff and volunteers arrived at the scene of the blaze Monday afternoon in time to save most of the home, an 1,150-square-foot, one-floor cabin with a loft at the end of Summerhurst Road. They also prevented the fire from spreading to a nearby shed that housed boats and four-wheelers, Brown said.

“Another five or 10 minutes, and it would have been a total loss,” he said.

No one was in the home at the time of the fire. The structural damage was confined to the home’s porch, eves and some of the kitchen. The house also saw smoke damage, and about a quarter of the roof burned. Smoke from the blaze was so thick that VIFR got calls from the mainland. 

“They were able to stop it and save the majority of the home from serious damage.” Brown said. “The main structure and foundation are totally rebuildable.”

Though the cause of the fire is currently under investigation, two different neighbors told VIFR staff that the owners of the home had been burning debris downhill from the home on Sunday.

“It looked like the source of the fire came from where that burn fire was,” Brown said.

He noted that a county-wide burn ban has been in effect for about a week. 

“(Illegal burning) is a bad idea. But it’s a worse idea to leave it while it’s still burning,” he said.

Brown said VIFR responds to about half a dozen significant structural fires a year.



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