Oak Harbor firefighters avert disaster
By JUSTIN BURNETT
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
February 7, 2012 · Updated 9:41 AM
An Oak Harbor apartment complex faced disaster Saturday when a mysterious fire broke out on the deck of an unoccupied unit.
Shortly after 7 p.m., the Oak Harbor Fire Department responded to reports of a commercial structure fire at Villa Marina Apartments, a complex of six two-story buildings nestled between S.E. Ely and Highway 20.
Firefighters and police arrived to find a fire on the deck of a second-story apartment. The apartment was rented but when knocks at the front door were not answered, emergency responders broke in.
The blaze was quickly extinguished but it was not clear at the time how it started, according fire Lt. Mike Engle. A melted material was found on the deck but that it was not enough to make any determinations.
“It looks accidental at this time,” Engle said.
One of the first to spot the fire was Pol Acode, a neighboring tenant. He was in his apartment when he noticed a light outside his window. He walked out and saw flames on the deck that nearly reached the eves.
“It was almost to the ceiling,” Acode said.
Complex owner Joe Franssen, who had been alerted to the incident, praised the fire department with a quick response. Had it not been there when it was, the outcome could have been much different.
“I think the fire department did a good job,” he said.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Justin Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5054.