PORT ANGELES — A rural residence east of Port Angeles was destroyed by a fire Tuesday afternoon after flames that began in the daylight basement chased the owner, poet and professor emeritus Alice Derry from the deck of her home.
Derry, 71, of 1862 Deer Park Road, was not injured in the blaze reported at 2:43 p.m. Tuesday, Fire District 2 Chief Sam Phillips said.
An English professor at Peninsula College for 29 years and now a professor emeritus, Derry ran the college’s Foothills Wrtiers Series for many years and has published several books of poetry.
Phillips said Derry, listed in county Assessor’s Office records as the sole owner, was the only person in the home.
The $265,000 tri-level, wood-siding residence was a total loss by the time the fire was declared under control at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Phillips said.
The fire remains under investigation, he said.
Phillips said Derry has insurance.
The American Red Cross was assisting Derry at her home Tuesday afternoon, providing personal items.
She was staying with friends Tuesday night in Port Angeles.
Derry was looking out her kitchen window when she saw flames coming up through the basement window on the outside, Phillips said.
She ran out the back door to the deck, which started to burn.
“Fire erupted around the deck and chased her off the deck,” Phillips said.
Derry ran around the side of the tri-level house to get back in but had locked herself out.
She ran to a neighbor’s residence to call 9-1-1.
By the time firefighters arrived, the blaze “was well involved,” with flames coming out of the bottom of the house and extending up to the third level, Phillips said.
Fire Districts 2 and 3 responded to the blaze with four engines, two water tenders and command vehicles.
The residence, built in 1978, had three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a two-story fireplace, according to county records.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.