Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue firefighters look for hot spots Friday night in a Gardiner home on the 2000 block of Old Gardiner Road. Fire officials say the cause of the fire remains under investigation. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue firefighters look for hot spots Friday night in a Gardiner home on the 2000 block of Old Gardiner Road. Fire officials say the cause of the fire remains under investigation. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Several people displaced by Gardiner house fire

Firefighters battle heavy winds to stop attic flames

GARDINER — Several people are now staying with family after an attic fire in a three-story home in Gardiner that was fought by firefighters from Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Clallam County Fire District 3 Chief Ben Andrews said a Blyn fire crew first arrived to the 2000 block of Old Gardiner Road at 7:01 p.m. Friday to find flames consuming much of the home’s roof.

High winds and the tight confines of the attic made it a difficult fire to fight, Andrews said. Initially, he said, the attic was the most affected from the fire, with water and smoke damage significantly affecting the other two stories.

Two residents, Terry Rookard, 93, and her son Willy Rookard, and Terry’s dog Tita, found safety outside the house, thanks to neighbors who alerted them to the fire.

Willy Rookard said neighbors saw the smoke and alerted the residents. He said he guessed the fire started in the attic space because the nearby TV room didn’t initially have smoke and flames.

He said the three-story home is about 5,900 square feet and was built in 2001 with cedar shakes.

Firefighters estimated they extinguished the fire at about 8:30 p.m. and didn’t see any hot spots. The fire, however, rekindled with a large flare-up in the southeast corner of the home in the middle of the night, Andrews said.

Fire crews returned to extinguish the fire in the home again and they left a fire watch team for the rest of the night.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, Andrews said.

Willy Rookard said the fire restarted around 3 a.m. and took a majority of the remaining home and their belongings.

Terry, her son Earl Rookard, and his daughter Terry Rookard were living in the home while Willy was living on site, he said.

Some cherished belongings were preserved, fire crews said.

Willy Rookard said the house was insured but the family had not reached an insurance company representative as of Sunday.

A gofundme account for the family was started by local businesswoman Angee Conklin-Garcia at www.gofundme.com/help-the-rookards with a goal of $10,000.

Family members are staying in a nearby family member’s house but their future living situation hasn’t been determined, Willy Rookard said.

For the initial fire, Andrews said eight fire engines arrived including support from Clallam County Fire District 2, Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue, Quilcene Fire and Rescue volunteers, Jefferson County Fire District 5, Jefferson County PUD, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Olympic Ambulance.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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