Port Angeles firefighter Ryan Gosling, left, and Samantha Harik work to extinguish a blaze at an unoccupied house at 1338 W. Lauridsen Blvd. on the edge of Port Angeles on Saturday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles firefighter Ryan Gosling, left, and Samantha Harik work to extinguish a blaze at an unoccupied house at 1338 W. Lauridsen Blvd. on the edge of Port Angeles on Saturday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Blaze extinguished at structure reportedly housing squatters

Cause of fire under investigation

PORT ANGELES — The cause of a Saturday fire that destroyed a house, reportedly abandoned but with squatters living in it, remained under investigation on Sunday, according to Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue.

Clallam 2 and the Port Angeles Fire Department were dispatched at 1:40 p.m. Saturday to the structure fire in the 1300 block of West Lauridsen Boulevard, which was found to be fully involved upon arrival, according to Clallam 2 Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider in a press release.

Port Angeles police reported that the building was an abandoned structure; neighbors said up to three squatters were on site, according to the release.

Port Angeles police were able to ascertain that two of the three known occupants were out of the structure and at the time could not determine the status of the third person said to be living there. It was later confirmed that the third occupant had a van and it was not on the property, Grider said.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control within 30 minutes of arrival. Flames were contained to the building with no damage to the perimeter storage buildings.

“A thorough search of the building was not completed until many hours later due to the severe hoarding conditions inside the structure and the amount of fire damage,” Grider said.

No first responders were injured.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and Port Angeles Police Department (PAPD) are following up, Grider said.

Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue brought two engines, one command and two support vehicles with 10 personnel, while the Port Angeles Fire Department responded with two engines, one ladder truck and one command with nine personnel.

CCSO supported operations with two units and personnel while the PAPD responded with two officers “and was greatly appreciated to help secure the scene,” Grider said.

Olympic Ambulance provided emergency medical service support had it been needed with two staffers.

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