Home damaged in Ledgewood slide burns to ground

A firefighter from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue douses a hotspot in the wreckage of a home that burned to the ground Sunday night in the Ledgewood area. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
A firefighter from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue douses a hotspot in the wreckage of a home that burned to the ground Sunday night in the Ledgewood area.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Abandoned since last year’s massive Ledgewood landslide, a home on Driftwood Way burned to the ground Sunday.

The home, a double-wide manufactured home, was red-tagged by Island County after the landslide, meaning that it was unsafe to enter.

The house was pushed toward the shoreline during the landslide and part of it teetered over the edge of a mound.

Firefighters faced a number of challenges before they could extinguish the fire.

With a portion of the road wiped out by the landslide, the only access to the lower part of the neighborhood is via a small, barely one-lane wide road.

Because of the road’s width and a hairpin turn, the large fire trucks weren’t able to maneuver down to the neighborhood.

Three smaller brush trucks responded to the Sunday evening conflagration, said Chad Michael, deputy chief for Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue.

The fire was reported by Ralph Young, who lives in a house atop of the bluff overlooking the manufactured home. Young said he was just getting ready for bed after celebrating the Seahawks victory when he spotted the fire.

“It was quite an inferno,” Young said.

Michael said the home was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, which was approximately 10 minutes after getting the report.

Firefighters had to access the fire from a neighboring residence.

Fire hoses were lowered approximately 500 feet down a ravine created by last year’s landslide and up the mound where the abandoned house sat.

A brush apparatus holds 250 gallons of water. While one was used to fight the blaze, the other two were used to ferry water to the site, Michael said.

A total 20 firefighters from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Naval Air Station Whidbey and South Whidbey Fire/EMS assisted in dousing the blaze.

The blaze was extinguished around 1:50 a.m. Monday morning and a small number of firefighters remained on scene throughout Monday extinguishing any flare ups.

A fire investigator combed through the wreckage Tuesday to try and determine a cause of the blaze, Michael said.

The house was supposed to be unoccupied and didn’t have any electrical service.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said the fact that there wasn’t electricity to the house makes the fire suspicious.

Brown said the the sheriff’s office is also conducting an investigation.

Young said neighbors saw evidence in the months since the landslide that people were breaking into the house.

People tried to board up the residence only to find the board later removed, he said.

“It’s a continual thing,” Young said.

-If anyone has information about the fire, call the Island County Sheriff’s Office at 360-678-4422 or ICOM at 360-679-9567.


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