Propane torch ignited blaze

An attempt to efficiently remove some weeds will surely cost a home’s renter his damage deposit.

Two 11-year-old girls discovered the fire and ran to the home where they were staying and called 911.

“My friend and I were screaming, ‘The house is on fire, The house is on fire,’ “ Marielle Face said.

Marielle then ran to her grandparents’ house two doors down and called 911.

“I told them the house next door to where we live is on fire and that we saw flames that weren’t very big,” Marielle said.

Her grandfather, Ned Face, grabbed his garden hose and began soaking the corner of the house on the beach side. This probably kept the fire from growing and spreading to the rest of the house.

North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Marv Koorn said that the home did not suffer extensive fire damage, but smoke had spread throughout the entire home. He estimated the damage to be around $7,000, but that could jump depending on how much heat damage the siding suffered.

Island County Sheriff’s Detective Shawn Warwick was called to investigate the cause of the fire, as the propane tank was still outside. The foundation of the home showed visible burn marks in the form of blades of grass.

Warwick said that the renter was using the propane torch approximately four hours before the girls reported the fire. He was not home when the flames erupted.

“There was a little bit of wind and a little bit of smoldering,” Warwick said. “And we got a little bit of flames.”

Warwick said that no criminal charges will be filed, but the house’s owner and the renter will need to work out the civil end, he said.

The girls said they knew what to do when they saw the flames, but it didn’t stop them from being scared.

“I was scared,” 11-year-old Lauren Leahi said. “I have never seen a real fire before.”

While the girls were on the phone with I-COM, they stood outside and awaited the arrival of fire crews.

“We stood out front so that they would know where the fire was,” Marielle said. “There are a lot of blue houses here.

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