An early morning fire on Tuesday claimed two waterfront homes on the island’s west side. There were no injuries.
Vashon Island Fire & Rescue was dispatched to the fire shortly after 2 a.m. Chief Charlie Krimmert said the first call about the fire came in from the Kitsap Peninsula, so no address was provided. Best estimates were that the blaze was at Cove Walk, and units headed there first. En route, they got another call about the fire, he said, this time with the address — the 19000 block of Sunset Road, a narrow lane off Robinwood Road.
Krimmert said he was first on the scene and found a fully involved structure fire with trees and bushes also burning.
“When I arrived, there were 50-foot flames rolling over the road,” he said.
One of the homes is listed in King County records as belonging to Patricia Churchill. The owners of the other home, a small cabin, are listed as Samuel Skrivan and Serena Maure.
The fire was knocked down at about 4:30 a.m., Assistant Chief Bob Larsen said. Crews were still on the scene at 7:30 a.m., and the fire was still smoldering, with the smell of smoke detectable a considerable distance away.
Larsen said access to the fire was difficult. As there are no hydrants in the area, crews had to lay approximately 500 feet of hose to get water to the fire and had to navigate a steep hillside. Because of the difficult location, Krimmert and Larsen said they called in the Tacoma fire boat, which did much of the work of extinguishing the blaze. The Seattle fire boat was also called in, but ultimately was sent back. An off-island engine was also dispatched, but arrived at the Fauntleroy ferry dock to find no ferry there, and did not make the trip over. From Vashon, an engine and three tenders responded.
The department put out a call to all off-duty firefighters to respond to the fire at 2:45 a.m. Neither Krimmert nor Larsen had tallied the number of people who worked on the fire as of early Tuesday, but planned on doing so later in the day.
“You never have enough,” Larsen said about the number of responders on the scene during the night. “We could always use more people. In a difficult situations, you need as many people as you can get. We could have used more last night.”
But he added an important caveat.
“Especially from a safety aspect, I don’t know that I would have sent more down ‘til daylight,” he said, noting that after the fire boat doused the area, the steep hillside was muddy and slippery.
In all, Larsen said, the homes burned completely along with about a half-acre of brush.
Krimmert said the homeowners lost everything and that the Red Cross is assisting.
“We wish we could have done more,” he said.
The King County fire investigator was on the scene Tuesday morning but declined to comment.