Victim identified in Marrowstone RV fire

NORDLAND — The man who died in an RV fire on Marrowstone Island last weekend has been identified as Michael W. Graham.

Graham, whose body was found in a fifth wheel at Smitty’s RV Park on July 28, was 67, Jefferson County Coroner and Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas said Friday.

An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia and smoke inhalation. The manner of death was accidental, Haas said.

“He was staying out in Nordland, but we believe that he was from Texas,” Haas said.

Graham had moved to East Jefferson County from Lago Vista, Texas, in early 2017, said his friend, Ken Taylor of Port Ludlow.

Taylor described his friend and former employee as a “loner” and a “really good guy.”

“He basically just kind of kept to himself,” Taylor said.

The fire that destroyed the 30-foot fifth wheel was reported by neighbors at 6:06 a.m. Saturday, firefighters said.

East Jefferson Fire-Rescue, Naval Magazine Indian Island and Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue had extinguished the fire by 6:30 a.m.

Given the extent of the damage to the RV, the exact cause of the fire was not determined.

“We believe it was electrical in nature, but we don’t have a definitive assessment,” East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman Bill Beezley said Thursday.

Jefferson County Undersheriff Art Frank said the fire was not suspicious.

Taylor said he hired Graham to work at a stone yard in Georgetown, Texas, in 2004.

“He’s been a heavy equipment operator and semi-truck driver for most of his life,” Taylor said in a Thursday interview.

“He worked for me for a couple years. After I left there, we stayed friends.”

Graham was hauling fuel in Corpus Christi, Texas, when he decided to move to the North Olympic Peninsula, Taylor said.

“He wanted to get out of Texas because it was so bloody hot there,” Taylor said.

“He couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.”

Graham obtained a Discover Pass to walk the beaches of Fort Flagler State Park, Taylor said.

To supplement his Social Security income, Graham had been clearing brush on Taylor’s property and planned to help Taylor demolish a house.

Taylor said he last spoke with Graham about two weeks ago.

“He was just a really good guy,” Taylor said.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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