Lake Sutherland blaze leaves family homeless

Firefighters say combustion may be from fireworks

A home is left gutted by fire after an early-morning blaze said to have been accidental and likely caused by discarded fireworks that smoldered and spread. (Clallam 2 Fire Rescue)

A home is left gutted by fire after an early-morning blaze said to have been accidental and likely caused by discarded fireworks that smoldered and spread. (Clallam 2 Fire Rescue)

PORT ANGELES — A family of five was left homeless after a blaze in the Lake Sutherland area in the early-morning hours after the Fourth of July.

The five occupants, two adults and three children, got out of the burning building safely. They planned to stay with friends in the area, said Chief Jake Patterson of Clallam 2 Fire Rescue, which was dispatched to the fire at 177 Boulder Road Drive at 2:13 a.m. Tuesday.

A cat, hedgehog and gecko were retrieved safely by firefighters. Another hedgehog did not survive the blaze, he added in the press release issued Wednesday.

The preliminary investigation determined the cause to be accidental.

Some discarded fireworks had been placed next to combustible materials and likely smoldered and spread, Patterson said, while a propane tank in the area probably vented and ignited, hastening the spread.

A loud noise alerted residents to the fire, which they found burning on the exterior of the house. They tried to put it out — one adult burned his hand and was treated on-site by an Olympic Ambulance medic, Patterson said — but they couldn’t stop it.

They all managed to get out of the house before firefighters arrived.

The crew knocked down the fire initially, but it had spread to several concealed spaces in the roof trusses, Patterson said.

It was declared under control by about 3:30 a.m. and was fully extinguished by 5 a.m.

Firefighters had been told erroneously that the blaze also endangered a shed and possibly another residence, so they had called for all volunteer and off-duty career responders to assist, as well as requesting mutual aid from the Port Angeles Fire Department and Clallam County Fire District 4 in Joyce.

Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue responded with one fire engine, two water tenders, one ambulance and one command vehicle with a total of nine personnel.

The Port Angeles Fire Department brought a fire engine and two personnel.

The Joyce fire department responded with one fire engine, one water tender and one command vehicle with five personnel.

Olympic Ambulance, Clallam County Public Utility District and Clallam County Sheriff’s Office personnel also assisted.

Patterson said his department had no other calls for fires related to the Fourth of July.

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