A firefighter overhauls a house on the west side of Port Angeles that caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A firefighter overhauls a house on the west side of Port Angeles that caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Fire damages Port Angeles home; resident unharmed

PORT ANGELES — Flames ripped through the exterior of a home on the west side of Port Angeles Sunday morning while a resident was away walking his dogs, police and firefighters said.

When the man arrived back to the house, he found the fire had destroyed the south wall and eave of his home at 2508 W. 10th St.

The man told firefighters he had emptied ashes from his wood stove into a plastic garbage can outside days before the fire, which firefighters say likely caused the blaze.

Mark Karjalainen of the Port Angeles Fire Department said there were no injuries from the fire and that no one was home when it started.

It wasn’t clear how many people or pets lived in the home, said PAFD Lt. Andrew Cooper.

County records show the home is owned by Robert Fielding.

Cooper said he didn’t know what the resident’s plans were, but said he was talking to his insurance company.

Among the top concerns when firefighters arrived at the fire, reported at about 9:40 a.m., was that people and animals might be inside and that the fire could spread to a garage only several yards from where the fire started, said Karjalainen.

Typically at that time on a Sunday a home would be occupied, he said.

“That’s why there was a heightened response and tension in people’s voices,” he said. “Luckily there was nobody inside the structure.”

When neighbors first saw the flames, they checked to see if anyone was inside but got no response.

Among the first to see the fire were neighbors Ronney Harriman and Sonja Bowcutt, who called 9-1-1.

When Harriman realized what he was seeing was a house fire, he ran toward the home to ensure no one was inside, he said.

“I kicked the gate open and started pounding on windows to make sure no one was in there,” he said. “I was pounding pretty hard so I think someone would have woke up.”

Bowcutt said she saw flames shooting probably 6 feet from the eave of the home and that the whole south side was on fire.

“I’m just glad there was no one in there,” Harriman said. “That was my main worry.

“It’s hard losing your house, but at least you’re not losing a life.”

Both praised the Port Angeles Fire Department for its quick response, which Karjalainen said was crucial to preventing further damage.

Firefighters arrived within about five minutes of the report and had flames knocked down about a minute after water started flowing, he said.

“We feel bad for the homeowner, but there’s a lot more that could have gone worse,” he said. He said if it had been another few minutes, the fire could have easily spread.

Most of the damage was to the exterior, eave and attic of the home, with little smoke damage throughout, he said.

“There was some smoke inside, but it wasn’t as dense of smoke,” he said. “A lot of personal property was likely spared.”

He called the damage to the outside of the home significant, adding there were burnt rafter and truss ends.

“Usually when that happens they have to replace the whole truss,” he said. “We’re talking a pretty significant loss.”

The Port Angeles Fire Department, Clallam County Fire District No. 2, Port Angeles Police Department and Clallam County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the fire.

Firefighters and police recommended putting ashes from wood stoves and fireplaces in metal containers away from anything that can burn.

________

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

A firefighter carries a hose after a house on the west side of Port Angeles caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A firefighter carries a hose after a house on the west side of Port Angeles caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Smoke pours out of a house on the west side of Port Angeles that caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Smoke pours out of a house on the west side of Port Angeles that caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Firefighters arrive at a house on the west end of Port Angeles that caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Firefighters arrive at a house on the west end of Port Angeles that caught fire Sunday morning. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

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