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Fire claims truck-camper in Central Whidbey

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue firefighters Kevin Moberg and Jerry Helm watch as fellow firefighter David Mott douses the remains of a truck-camper fire near S. Quail Trail Lane.  - Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times
Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue firefighters Kevin Moberg and Jerry Helm watch as fellow firefighter David Mott douses the remains of a truck-camper fire near S. Quail Trail Lane.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

A Central Whidbey man is lucky to still have a house today following a fire Tuesday evening fire that nearly claimed his home.

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue responded to a call at 7:08 p.m. for a trailer fire at a home off Highway 20 and S. Quail Trail Lane. They arrived on scene to find the smoking remains of a truck-camper and a frantic Tom Kieffer.

“He’s lucky he didn’t burn the house down,” said Andy Griffin, a captain with Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue.

Kieffer, who operates a 24-hour towing and auto recycling business from his home, had been burning yard-waste in a fire pit in his backyard. According to Griffin, the truck-camper was parked too close to the blaze and caught fire. Griffin said he couldn’t be sure, but Kieffer appeared to be intoxicated.

Kieffer said he had been watching a fire pit from a chair on his porch when he fell asleep. He awoke to see the truck-camper engulfed in flames. Kieffer said he tried to put the fire out with a garden hose, but he wasn’t able to get close enough due to the intense heat of the fire.

“I was so lucky,” Kieffer said.

“Those boys saved my ass,” he said.

Griffin agreed. The camper-trailer was parked less than three feet from a cord of wood, which was only about 15 feet away from the house.

According to Kieffer, the truck-camper’s value was no more than $100.

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