Firefighters continue to work as smoke and steam pour out of a Port Townsend-area home Thursday. The smoke could be seen from state Highway 20. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Firefighters continue to work as smoke and steam pour out of a Port Townsend-area home Thursday. The smoke could be seen from state Highway 20. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Couple escapes blaze but home lost near Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — A couple escaped their burning Port Townsend-area home Thursday morning as a blaze ripped through the house.

Firefighters from East Jefferson Fire-Rescue, Port Ludlow Fire Department and Naval Magazine Indian Island Fire Station 91 fought the single-story structure fire at 160 Cub Road at about 9:24 a.m. Thursday.

Resident Van Roberts said he held his wife’s hand as he led her out of the fire before grabbing buckets of water to attempt to slow the fire.

“It all just happened really fast,” he said.

The fire started in the fireplace and chimney, he said. Smoke filled the home. Fire singed the hair on his head.

“Once it caught the living room rug on fire it was instant smoke,” he said as firefighters continued to spray water on the house he built 20 years ago.

He said his home was uninsured. Roberts said he’ll just have to start over because the blaze completely destroyed his house.

He and his wife have lived off-the-grid in their solar-powered home that he built himself, he said.

“I drove every nail into that house,” Roberts said.

He later told firefighters that he had attempted to start a fire in his wood-burning stove, located in a hollow inside a home-built chimney.

Unsuccessful, he went outside and returned with a mix of motor oil and diesel fuel, which he tossed into the stove.

The mixture immediately ignited and poured back out of the open stove, singeing the hair on his head and catching the flooring on fire, according to East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.

The home is about 5 miles south of Port Townsend in the Four Corners area. Smoke could be seen from state Highway 20 near Jefferson County International Airport.

“Firefighters arrived and knocked the fire down probably within about 15 or 20 minutes, but not before the house was destroyed,” said Bill Beezley, fire department spokesman.

Firefighters took a defensive approach when attacking the fire, meaning they were focused on protecting the surroundings.

Beezley said the home was “so far gone that it was no longer safe to put firefighters [inside] and risk their lives trying to put out the fire.”

The home was surrounded by trees and brush, but because of recent rain, Beezley said there was little risk of the fire spreading.

The fire was not hot enough to put a nearby propane tank at risk, he said. The metal roof on the home kept the fire contained to the inside of the building.

“There was no real risk of the fire spreading away from the structure,” he said.

He said the American Red Cross had been contacted to help the couple with shelter.

________

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

Flames shoot out from the roof of a Port Townsend-area home that burned Thursday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Flames shoot out from the roof of a Port Townsend-area home that burned Thursday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A firefighter sprays down the Port Townsend-area home that caught fire Thursday morning. The couple living in the home escaped without injury. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A firefighter sprays down the Port Townsend-area home that caught fire Thursday morning. The couple living in the home escaped without injury. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A firefighter sprays down the home Thursday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A firefighter sprays down the home Thursday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

More in News

Volunteers work to construct the main play structure of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles on Sunday, the last day of a five-day community build to replace play equipment destroyed by arson in December. The playground, built entirely with donated labor, will be substantially complete with primarily detail work and play surface installation still to come. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Finishing touches

Volunteers work to construct the main play structure of the Dream Playground… Continue reading

Seabrook CEO Casey Roloff talks with community members about a planned 500- to 600-home development near Sequim Bay on April 23 at John Wayne Marina. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Sequim site could include 600 homes

Developer eyeing property near John Wayne Marina

Wait times at Olympic Medical Center emergency department improving, board told

Hospital aims to see patients within 30 minutes of arrival

Clallam to develop Salt Creek campsites for trail

Estimated development cost is $15,000 with annual maintenance at $1,500

Sarge’s Veteran Support house managers, from left, Danny Deckert, David Durnford and Steve Elmelund welcome attendees to the organization’s first fundraiser at the Dungeness River Nature Center on April 27. The event raised nearly $50,000. (Sarge’s Veteran Support)
Sarge’s Veterans Support gets nearly $49K in first fundraiser

More than 100 attend event at Dungeness River Nature Center

Sequim schools looking at options with budget struggles

District freezes most hiring, aims to cut at least $2.5 million

Gary Reidel, representing Wilder Toyota, plucks the winning duck from a truck. Wilder sponsored the winners prize of a 2024 Toyota Corolla. And the winner is Sarah Aten of Port Angeles. Her response was, “That’s amazing, that’s amazing.” There was 28,764 ducks sold this year as of race day. The all-time high was back in 2008 when over 36,000 were sold. (Dave Logan/For Peninsula Daily News)
Thirty-five winners announced in Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Pluck

Fundraising record set for Olympic Medical Center Foundation

Sewer project starting in west Port Angeles

Work crews from Scarsella Brothers, Inc., will resume construction… Continue reading

Port Angeles City Council to conduct special meeting

The Port Angeles city council will conduct a workshop… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Port Angeles Fire Department community paramedic Brian Gerdes flips pancakes during Saturday’s annual breakfast on Saturday at the fire hall. The event, hosted by the fire department and auxiliary, was a fundraiser for department scholarships and relief baskets. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Pancake fundraiser in Port Angeles

Port Angeles Fire Department community paramedic Brian Gerdes flips pancakes during Saturday’s… Continue reading

Work begins on sewer project

Intermittent closures planned in Port Hadlock