Fire burns Mukilteo home to the ground

By Sara Bruestle | Nov 20, 2013

A 2-alarm fire destroyed a Mukilteo home Wednesday morning.

The fire was reported around 9:45 a.m. at a house on the 6000 block of 88th Street S.W. It was engulfed in flames and a total loss.

“When we got there, there was nothing we could do,” Mukilteo Assistant Fire Chief Brian McMahan said. “There was nothing to save.”

The site on a bluff overlooking the waterfront proved to be a difficult one for firefighters.

McMahan said they were delayed because it is located near the end of a narrow, winding road and far away from a hydrant.

The first fire truck on scene couldn’t make the sharp turn to get to the house, McMahan said. Firefighters had to pull over to let other engines pass.

“It’s a single-lane road with hairpin turns,” he said. “The home is basically down in a gulch with a bunch of switchbacks all over and finger spurs to homes on this single lane.”

About 40 firefighters from Mukilteo, Everett, Lynnwood and Fire District 1 responded to the fire. After a Fire District 1 truck got stuck on the last turn of the road, other firefighters were advised to get to the home by an alternate road, 61st Place W.

“Both Mukilteo stations were on another call at the time, so the next closest unit was at Lake Serene,” McMahan said.

McMahan said firefighters also had to lay 1,200 feet of hose from the nearest hydrant up the hill at 88th Street S.W. In most neighborhoods, hydrants are 600 feet apart, he said.

“That’s two hydrants away,” McMahan said. “That’s pretty unusual. We carry 800 feet of hose, so it took two fire engines of hose.

“That also causes delays.”

Firefighters were dispatched at 9:44 a.m. When they arrived at 9:54 a.m., the house was engulfed in flames.

At 10:13 a.m., firefighters were spraying tank water on the fire. At 10:29 a.m., they switched to the hydrant.

The fire was out by 4 p.m. The fire had burned the house down all the way to the foundation.

Damage to the home was estimated at $256,300 and an additional $50,000 for the contents.

Mukilteo Fire Marshal Jim Thomas determined the fire was caused by a space heater that was too close to some material.

A mother and young child were outside the house playing when they saw smoke. A family dog was also outside at the time of the fire.

The nearly 1,600-square-foot home was built in 1948 and remodeled in the 1980s.

A 2-alarm fire is twice as bad as a 1 alarm. Dispatch sends two fire engines, a ladder truck, a paramedic car, an aid car and a battalion chief to a 1-alarm fire – a 2 alarm gets double that.

“Fires like this, fortunately, are very far and few in between,” said Mukilteo Fire Chief Mike Springer. “They’re absolutely a challenge ... but the challenges presented to us were handled professionally and quickly.”

McMahan recommends that residents keep space heaters off of carpeting and at least 3 feet away from any objects.

“Keep them on tile or linoleum floors, so in case they get knocked over, they won’t get hot and start a fire,” he said. “All the new ones have anti-tipping devices, so they shut off, but the metal might still be warm.

“If it lands on the right material, it can ignite.”

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