Fire on Agnew site linked to chimney

AGNEW — A Friday night fire that left most of a 3,800-square-foot home uninhabitable was caused by creosote built up in the fireplace chimney, investigators said.

The structural and content loss was estimated at $500,000, said Patrick Young, fire safety inspector and public information officer for Clallam County Fire District No. 3 in Sequim.

No injuries were reported.

Young said the home, owned by Margie Martee and shared with husband Robert Watkins, was filled with smoke when Watkins returned home at 6:50 p.m. Friday with their dog at 84 Hunters Gate Lane off Finn Hall Road.

Martee was out of town when the fire was reported at 6:56 p.m. It was fought for about four hours then mopped up by 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Young said.

Watkins and their dog stayed with family and friends, Young reported.

“The majority of the house had high heat and smoke damage,” Young said, plus water damage caused when the fire was doused.

“Our firefighters braved some pretty bad conditions to get some of his [Watkins’] things that he believed to be valuable.”

Young said fires ignited by a creosote buildup in fireplace and wood-stove chimneys are greater than normal compared with “recent past years.”

“Four out of the last five were wood-stove or fireplace” chimney-related or caused by improper disposal of fireplace or wood-stove ashes, he said.

Gardiner fire

The Agnew fire was reported around the same time a much smaller Gardiner home exterior fire broke out, causing little damage but stretching District No. 3’s firefighters and resources.

Investigators believe that fire was caused by improperly disposed-of smoking material in trash and scorched only a small portion of the home’s exterior wall at 276784 U.S. Highway 101.

District No. 3’s Blyn fire station has jurisdiction over most of Gardiner under an agreement that was reached two years ago with Discovery Bay Jefferson County Fire District No. 5 in Gardiner.

At the Agnew fire scene, investigators said creosote was ignited and smoldered undetected inside the walls of the home, then at some point extended up into the attic space, where it continued to smolder until Friday night, investigators said.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the home “ablaze with heavy amounts of fire venting out of the roof.”

Two firefighters remained on scene overnight to extinguish hot spots as they flared up.

Because of the string of wood-stove and fireplace-related fires, Young said, “all persons using firewood or wood pellets to heat with should schedule, at a minimum, annual cleaning and inspections of the fire box and chimney by an experienced chimney sweep.”

Routine maintenance should include ash removal into a metal container mixed with water and stored away from the home and other combustible materials, Young said.

“Every home should have working smoke alarms, and each occupant should know and practice a fire escape plan,” he said.


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]

More in News

Carole Scholl of Port Angeles shows her support for women’s rights during a rally Saturday following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. For more on the rallies in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend, see Monday’s print and online editions. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Supporting women’s rights

Carole Scholl of Port Angeles shows her support for women’s rights during… Continue reading

Pat Woolman
Project Lifesaver client found after search

Project Lifesaver equipment helped deputies find a man who… Continue reading

Large response seen to Center Road fire

No one was hurt during a fire that burned down… Continue reading

Burn planned on Protection Island

A prescribed burn is planned on Protection Island National Wildlife… Continue reading

Myron Teterud, a longtime Sequim schools and community supporter, gives the crowd a salute after being honored as “Fan of the Century” at Sequim High School’s centennial celebration in January 2011. Sequim School Board directors agreed to name the SHS athletic field in honor of Teterud, along with naming the stadium stáʔčəŋ, a S’Klallam word meaning “wolf." (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)
Names OK’d for Sequim stadium, field

Tribe, Teterud honored at athletic facility

Ammonia leak reported at paper mill

An ammonia leak from a tank at McKinley Paper… Continue reading

Matthew Nash/ Olympic Peninsula News Grup

The Sequim Police Department continues to investigate an early morning burglary on Friday at Coastal Farm Ranch.
Sequim business burglarized, police investigating

Coastal Farm & Ranch was burglarized early Friday morning. How… Continue reading

Abortion ruling leaves access unaffected in state

Peninsula healthcare providers respond

OMC vows full ER staff on July 1

PESI to dissolve as new group takes over

Most Read