Small Town News

Disaster and Accident

Fire destroys home on state Route 3; no one injured

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Last week, Dick Linn received some disquieting news.

A nephew who lives in Portland called to tell him that his mother's house, on state Route 3 south of Shelton, was on fire. His mother had passed away last December, but his son and girlfriend had been staying there since then.

Linn, who was born in the house, arrived April 14 to find fire crews trying to contain the blaze, which had spread into the rafters quickly after Mason County Fire District 4 arrived to the scene.

"There were a lot of memories in that house," Linn said. He said his father bought the house in 1948 when it was only a three-room shack. Over the years, he built onto it until it became the structure that burned down.

"Old-growth Simpson timber built that house," he said. "For the last 50 years, my mother has been filling it will cloth and patterns. That is going to be the biggest loss."

No one was inside the house when the timber ignited. Linn said his son was in Seattle with his girlfriend when the house caught fire. As soon as they heard the structure was going up in flames, they rushed home.

Firefighters arrived to the scene around 4:30 p.m. The crews quickly set up a plan of attack, spraying water into second-story windows on the front and back of the structure.

But the blaze advanced quicker than the firefighters' efforts to contain it. When the crews targeted a specific hotspot, the flames would jump to another area of the home.

Heavy brown and black smoke bellowed from the windows.

After 30 minutes of trying to gain an advantage over the flames, the firefighters transitioned into a containment phase to make sure the fire didn't spread to other structures.

At one point, a few firefighters climbed a ladder to the roof, where they used a chainsaw and an ax to gain further access to the attic of the home.

The home is a total loss. By Friday morning, only the charred remains scattered the property.

Mason County Fire District 4 Chief Bob Burbridge said it was 10 p.m. when crews finally rolled up the last fire hose.

"We ended up bringing in an excavator with the family's authorization and that saved five hours of hard labor," he said.

Burbridge said the cause of the blaze will remain undetermined because there was no insurance on the home.

"The house had older wiring," he said. "I would venture to say that something failed in the wiring."

Crews from Mason County fire districts 4, 6, 11, 13 and 16, as well as Central Mason Fire & EMS, assisted in the efforts to contain the fire.

Copyright 2016 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 21, 2016

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