SEQUIM — About 20 people were evacuated from the Sequim Elks Lodge during a Bloodworks Northwest blood drive after smoke caused by a long-smoldering fire filled an office at the 143 Port Williams Road building.
The fire prompted the evacuation at about 9:30 a.m. Monday. No one was hurt. The evacuation ended at about 11 a.m.
“It could have been pretty bad,” Jim Headley, Lodge Exalted Ruler-CEO, said Tuesday.
Headley said Elks Club activities such as housing Boy Scout Troop 1498 and hosting Bingo will continue unabated but administrative functions will move to another part of the lodge for the more than 520-member organization.
Headley said the building, valued at $450,000 according to the Clallam County Assessor’s Office, will be repaired for “probably close to $20,000” after unrelated but newly discovered water damage from a leaky hose bib is fixed, too.
Duty Fire Chief Dan Orr of Sequim-area Fire District 3 said initial indications were the fire appeared to start at an electrical outlet that ignited bark below and worked its way behind the siding and into the sub-floor.
Headley said an electrician later ruled out an electrical malfunction and speculated that beauty bark spontaneously combusted or that someone may have thrown a lit cigarette next to the building.
Orr said by the time firefighters arrived, two or three floor joists had burned and smoke had saturated an office almost down to the floor.
“If I was a betting man, I’d say it was sitting in there punking around for at least a day or two,” Orr said.
“It’s a good thing people were there or it could have sat there and poked along for quite some time.”
Headley said that during bingo from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, players smelled smoke but, unable to find the source, thought it was emanating from area chimneys.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.