Hansville man killed in house fire

"HANSVILLE - Lowell Quesnell, 77, lost his life Tuesday while trying to stop a stove fire from destroying the waterfront cabin he had owned for more than 40 years. He was a very generous, kind-hearted guy who spent his time looking out for everyone, his son Nick Quesnell said. Family members were at the Quesnell home Wednesday sifting through what little the fire had not touched. The fire also displaced Quesnell's 70-year-old companion, Jacqueline Frizelli. Quesnell had owned the property since about 1955 and it served as the family's summer cabin. Quesnell, a former health and auto shop teacher for the Highline School District, rebuilt the home when he retired more than 20 years ago, Nick said. He was bent on staying here for as long as he could, he said. Nick added that in his younger days his father liked to fish and was a member of the Salmon Club. He had four children so he spent most of his adult life being a dad, Nick said. The fire that claimed Quesnell's life will be discussed at a community meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the Driftwood Keys Clubhouse in Hansville. The After the Fire's Out meeting will be conducted by North Kitsap Fire & Rescue Chief Paul Nichol, Assistant Chief Dan Smith, and spokeswoman Michéle Laboda. They will review the details of the firefighting efforts and give out safety information regarding the incident to the community members who attend. North Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews were called at about 7 p.m. Tuesday to Quesnell's cabin in the 35400 block of Hood Canal Drive in Cliffside, a small community southeast of Hansville. Frizelli, who escaped the fire, told firefighters Quesnell had been feeding parts of a cardboard box into a woodstove. A spark flew from the stove back into the box apparently catching the material on fire. To prevent the fire from spreading, he picked up the flaming box and attempted to take it outside, Laboda said. While he was carrying the box on his lap, the fire spread to his shirt. He removed the shirt and threw it onto a nearby chair, which immediately burst into flames. Frizelli used a cordless telephone to call 911 while exiting the structure in her wheelchair. She encouraging Quesnell, who was also wheelchair bound, to do the same. But he did not escape, apparently intent on continuing to fight the fire. As firefighters from the Hansville station made their way to the scene, the couple's neighbors - having heard fire units dispatched on a scanner to the nearby address - attempted to go into the home to help the man get out. But, according to the neighbors, heat and fire prevented them from reaching him. First-arriving firefighters reported the structure to be fully ablaze, with flames shooting from every window. With heavy fire blocking every access, crews were unable to reach the man. Additional fire units from Poulsbo Fire Department as well as NKF&R's Kingston and Suquamish stations assisted in battling the fire which took nearly an hour to control; further assistance was provided by the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office. Investigators from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal's Office were on the scene. Preliminary information suggests that the fire was accidental. The house and its contents are considered a total loss. It is unknown if the residence was insured. The West Sound Chapter of the American Red Cross will be providing assistance to Frizelli, who has gone to live with her daughter. While it's understandable to want to protect one's home and loved ones from a rapidly-spreading fire, it's terrible to see that desire result in a tragedy that could have been avoided, Laboda said. "

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