Investigation into deadly fire focuses on wood stove

DIAMOND POINT — Investigators suspect that a wood stove caused a fire that killed a 2-year-old boy on Friday, but it may take a week or more to know for sure.

“We’re going to be real meticulous,” said Patrick Young, spokesman for Sequim-based Clallam County Fire District No. 3.

Clallam County Sheriff’s Office investigators on late Friday afternoon uncovered the remains of the unidentified boy who died in a fast-moving mobile home fire.

The fire seriously injured the boy’s father, Jeff Bellis, who was airlifted from nearby Diamond Point Airport to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation.

By Saturday, he had been upgraded from critical to serious condition at Harborview.

The child’s mother, Heather Bellis, his grandmother, and a 4-year-old brother escaped the smoky blaze at 121 Blue Ice Terrace at Diamond Point.

They were unhurt, Young said.

The older woman and the 4-year-old were not identified.

The Sheriff’s Office referred all comment to the fire district, which isn’t releasing names at the request of the family.

The stove will be the focus of the investigation but all potential causes, including electrical, will be considered, Young said.

Young said every corner of the mobile home would be examined for the fire’s cause.

A 9-1-1 emergency call came in about 11 a.m. Friday reporting heavy smoke in the older model double-wide mobile home.

When firefighters arrived, Young said, “there was fire coming out of every opening of the building.”

“It sounds as though they [the family members] were either awakened or found heavy smoke conditions in the home,” he said.

“It’s possible there was a confusion issue,” Young said, explaining how families can be disoriented and separated during smoky fires.

With Fire District 3’s entire battalion responding to the blaze, it was quickly beaten down, leaving a heap of blackened rubble.

Investigators and firefighters tried to remove smoldering debris by hand to enable them to search for the missing toddler, but later called in an excavator to remove the largest section of the mobile home’s metal roof.

Representatives of the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the American Red Cross were called in to help family members left homeless.

They were relocated to a nearby mobile home that Young said belonged to others in the family.

Michelle Kelly, executive director of the Red Cross chapter, said the Red Cross is providing the family with food, blankets and any needed medication.

“It’s a very trying time for them,” she said.

“I think they are doing as well as can be expected at this point.”

Six units and 22 firefighter were dispatched to the remote scene along with several Sheriff’s Office investigators and three Red Cross representatives.

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

Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or at [email protected]

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