Home severely damaged by fast-moving fire; no injuries

An older couple and their cat got out of this home, thanks to the help of a neighbor, Saturday. The Poulsbo-area house suffered severe fire damage.   - North Kitsap Fire & Rescue
An older couple and their cat got out of this home, thanks to the help of a neighbor, Saturday. The Poulsbo-area house suffered severe fire damage.
— image credit: North Kitsap Fire & Rescue

POULSBO – An elderly couple lost most of their home and belongings in a fire Saturday, but they and their cat escaped unharmed despite the blaze’s ferocious spread.

The house, about half of which remains standing, sustained severe damage from fire and smoke, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue spokeswoman Michele Laboda reported. Firefighters from four agencies responded to the incident, using thousands of gallons of water to squelch flames.  A fire investigator went to the scene but no cause had been determined Saturday.

Crews from Poulsbo Fire Department, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Bainbridge Island Fire Department and the Navy Region Northwest Federal Fire Department at Sub Base Bangor were dispatched to the 1,200 square-foot, single-level home at 10:08 a.m. Saturday after a neighbor spotted flames and called 911.  The first unit arrived at the Parish Lane scene – located about two miles northeast of Poulsbo – 10 minutes after dispatch.  They reported one end of the house as fully involved in fire with heavy smoke coming from the roof’s ridgeline and eaves. Adjacent structures – a garage, a large carport and an RV storage shed – were also burning.

“This neighborhood is not served by fire hydrants so the second fire engine to arrive worked to make sure the firefighters would have access to more water than the 500 gallons carried in their tanks,” Laboda reported. “They deployed large hose line from the base of the road to the scene, enabling a team of tender trucks -- vehicles carrying thousands of gallons of water each -- to supply more than 20,000 gallons by the time the fire was fully extinguished.

The blaze was under control within 30 minutes but firefighters continued to chase down hot spots in the rubble into the afternoon.

The neighbor told officials that he’d driven right past the home and seen nothing unusual less than a half-hour earlier. Just before the first 911 call, he noticed smoke and flames coming from the next door home’s garage.  He yelled to his wife to call 911 and ran to help the older couple. The female homeowner had been doing chores around the house while her husband napped in the living room. She went outside to get something from the porch, and saw smoke coming from the garage area.  Investigating its source, she found flames and quickly returned to wake her husband who has limited mobility. As smoke began to fill the home, she was struggling to get her husband out when the neighbor arrived to assist.

Officials credit the neighbor, an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy assigned to the submarine USS Michigan, with ensuring the couple’s quick evacuation. Just minutes after they were all safely outside and upon the first firefighters’ arrival, the home’s living room was fully involved in fire.

An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office went to the scene to begin searching for the fire’s cause.  Although it appears as though the blaze began in one of the adjacent structures, the exact origin and cause remain under investigation, Laboda reported.

The home is uninhabitable, but the property is insured and the couple will be staying with family, Laboda reported. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.


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