Coupeville fire cause traced to heater

A fire that destroyed a two-story home on NE Leisure Street in Coupeville this past March has been determined an accident.

According to Central Whidbey Fire Chief Ed Hartin, investigators dug through the rubble and determined that the fire was started by a wall heater in a basement bathroom. It’s not clear why or how the device malfunctioned, only that it was the source.

“The challenge with those types of wall heaters is they don’t have an off switch,” he said.

The heater is believed to have been installed when the house was built in 1972. He recommended that anyone with similar heaters, especially ones that old, have them inspected on a regular basis.

The house belonged to Jeannette Omar, the former owner of the Knead and Feed restaurant on Coupeville’s waterfront. The fire, which took place March 29, was reported by neighbors at about 2 a.m. but may have been burning for much longer.

The home was completely destroyed.

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