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Poulsbo kitchen fire: Cause of fire and man's death reported
POULSBO — A fatal kitchen fire on Odin Street in Poulsbo on April 10 was caused when the resident’s clothes were ignited while operating the kitchen stove, the Kitsap County Fire Marshal reported.
The Kitsap County Coroner’s Office said Harold Champeness, 90, died from asphyxia and smoke inhalation.
“It’s sad to lose one of the treasures of our community this way,” Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam said in a statement posted on the county’s website. “The smoke alarms operated as they should have but had there been sprinklers installed in the home this may have been a different story last night.”
Lynam said cooking is a major cause of fires and burn injuries in the home, particularly for older people, and he urged residents to contact their local fire district or fire department for information on how to prevent cooking-related fires in the home.
Damage was limited to the immediate area of the kitchen with an estimated loss to property and contents of $10,000. According to the fire marshal the home had no fire sprinkler system and the fire alarms installed in the home operated as they should have.
Two 19-year-old neighbors said they “noticed smoke billowing from the windows” and ran over to the house, Poulsbo Fire Department spokeswoman Jody Matson reported. One man “busted in the back door,” which was closest to the fire. They tried to rescue Champeness but couldn’t get to him because of flames.
Poulsbo Fire Department, North Kitsap Fire and Rescue, and Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue went to the scene. When they arrived, they found smoke coming from the home and the two neighbors containing the fire to the kitchen using a garden hose. Firefighters completely extinguished the fire within five minutes, Matson reported.
“Because of the quick actions of the two men, fire damage was confined to the kitchen area but there is significant smoke damage to the home,” Matson reported.
Matson said neighbors described Champeness as a “wonderful man and a well-known local musician.”
“The man’s 58-year-old son, who has a home in Ballard, lived with his father in Poulsbo during the week and commuted daily across the water,” Matson reported. “The son is receiving some assistance from the Red Cross.”