Three blazes doused, damage contained

Firefighters open up a storage shed in Northgate Terrace Monday to douse a fire. - Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times
Firefighters open up a storage shed in Northgate Terrace Monday to douse a fire.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times

Firefighters on North Whidbey handled three fires in three days, beginning early Saturday morning. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

Ray Merrill, a battalion chief with Oak Harbor Fire Department, said a neighbor of an apartment on SE Ninth Avenue noticed that a couch on a deck was on fire at about 12:40 a.m. The occupant of the house was gone, so the neighbors called 911 and doused the blaze.

“It’s very lucky that someone saw it,” he said. “If they hadn’t seen it, we’d have a pretty good apartment fire.”

Merrill said the fire was all gone by the time firefighters arrived. They found that a small barbecue grill had reignited after the resident left. The heat from the grill ignited the couch.

Due to quick-acting neighbors, the fire didn’t spread and only ruined a couch and a Hibachi.

The next morning, a neighbor of a SE Fourth Avenue house reported that smoke was billowing out of attic vents. Merrill said Oak Harbor Fire responded with two engine companies and Navy Region Northwest sent a ladder truck from the base.

The firefighters discovered a kitchen fire in the rambler-style house. The residents were gone at the time.

“The fire just started breaking into the attic when we got there,” Merrill said.

The firefighters had no trouble extinguishing the kitchen conflagration, but not before the flames, heat and smoke caused extensive damage. Merrill estimates the damage at between $30,000 and $40,000.

The cause of the fire, Merrill said, is under investigation but appears accidental.

Then on Monday morning, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and Navy Region Northwest responded to a fire at a storage unit at Northgate Terrace. The firefighters sprayed down the packed-in contents of the unit and quickly put it out.

Fire Chief Marv Koorn said the fire was easy to handle because the sheds were each separate units with space between them, which makes it hard for the flames to spread.

“It’s pretty well sealed,” he said, “so the fire couldn’t take off. It can’t get enough oxygen.”

Koorn said the cause of the fire was unknown, but responders took photos of the contents in case something illegal was going on.

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