Fire spreads, damages 2 houses

Nobody was injured in a house fire that spread to a neighboring home in Oak Harbor last Friday afternoon.

Battalion Chief Ray Merrill with the Oak Harbor Fire Department said the accidental blaze began in the sunroom of a SE Fourth Avenue house soon after a resident “discarded burned material in the area.”

“We went three alarms on this one,” he said.

The woman looked out the window of her home after hearing an odd noise and saw the fire. She immediately called 911 and got out, bringing the two other people from the house.

The blaze burned so hot, Merrill said, that it also started a neighboring house, which stands about 10 feet away, on fire through radiant heat.

The fire department received the report of the fire at 12:29 p.m.

Merrill said 21 firefighters responded to the call, bringing two engines, a ladder truck, a command vehicle and a support vehicle from the city fire department. Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s fire department also responded with two engines.

The firefighters attacked the fire from the inside and outside and were able to get it under control in about 15 minutes.

Merrill said the one-story, 1,500-square-foot house in which the fire started suffered about $150,000 in heat and smoke damage. The kitchen, sunroom, dining room and part of an exterior wall were burned.

On the neighboring house, which is about the same size, the fire damage was mainly limited to an exterior wall and the attic. Nobody was home at the time of the fire.

According to the American Red Cross, the three residents of the first house are living with, and getting help from, family and friends. Merrill said both houses can be repaired or rebuilt.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at or 675-6611.

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