Tom Bellis looks over the remains of his home that burned New Year’s Day. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Tom Bellis looks over the remains of his home that burned New Year’s Day. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Cause under investigation after fire destroys Sequim home

CARLSBORG — A Carlsborg man is still looking for answers after a blaze destroyed his home on New Year’s Day.

Firefighters searched Monday for the cause of a fire that took the two-story home and a single-wide mobile home at 426 Martha Lane, but didn’t find any answers, said Capt. Chris Turner of Clallam County Fire District No. 3.

The homeowner, Tom Bellis, awoke to the smell of smoke at about 2 a.m. New Year’s Day and looked out the window to see the mobile home, only a few feet from the two-story house, on fire.

His top concern was making sure his family and pets made it out of the house.

“I went downstairs and got everyone out,” he said.

Once he got everyone out, it was too late to prevent the fire from taking the house. He tried using buckets of water and fire extinguishers to stop the blaze, but had no luck.

“After that it was just sit and watch the show basically,” he said.

Now, he plans to live in a fifth-wheel trailer on the property and start from scratch.

“At least that survived,” he said.

The only thing he was able to salvage from the inferno was his coin collection, which is now likely only worth its weight in silver, he said.

The home was a total loss, Turner said.

“We’re not quite sure where it started,” he said. “The homeowner said he saw fire under the breezeway.”

The call went in at about 2:06 a.m. and the fire was knocked down within half an hour of arriving to the blaze, he said.

Turner said the house was fully engulfed in flames when he arrived and that his top concern was protecting nearby buildings.

“By the time we got hose lines deployed and water coming, [the house] was already lost,” he said.

The fire did spread to a nearby boat, but didn’t spread any farther, he said.

There were various structures within several yards of the blaze, which caused concern for firefighters.

The fire was fully extinguished within three hours, but crews stayed on scene for some time with a tender in case of hot spots.

He said the long driveway and the fresh snow added some difficulty to fighting the fire and that water supply is always a challenge for rural fires.

Clallam County Fire District No. 3 also responded to six other calls while battling the fire, he said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Bellis, which has a goal of raising $10,000.

His daughter, Mary Bellis, said she plans to set up a donation account in his name at First Federal first thing this morning.

The page says money donated will go toward food, clothing and essentials and that there is a goal to construct a new home in the spring.

Nearly $500 had been raised as of Monday afternoon.

The GoFundMe page can be viewed at https://www.gofundme.com/toms-rebuild-project.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

Firefighters searched Monday for the cause of a fire that destroyed a Carlsborg home on New Year’s Day. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Firefighters searched Monday for the cause of a fire that destroyed a Carlsborg home on New Year’s Day. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

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