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Vacant North Whidbey house burned in training exercise

North Whidbey Fire and Rescue firefighter Mike Myrum ensures a training fire Saturday doesn’t spread to nearby trees and bushes. - Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times
North Whidbey Fire and Rescue firefighter Mike Myrum ensures a training fire Saturday doesn’t spread to nearby trees and bushes.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times

North Whidbey firefighters got some much-needed training and the Nielsen family got rid of an old home.

Firefighters from North Whidbey Fire and Rescue burned an old, 800-square-foot farm house to the ground Saturday near Polnell Point. The home was owned by Tristy and Karl Nielsen.

“We probably got 20 fires out of it,” Joe Biller, training officer for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said. “The house was incredibly strong.”

At about 1 p.m., firefighters set the small two-bedroom house ablaze. The billowing smoke was visible for miles.

Biller said 26 firefighters with two engines and two water tenders participated in the training exercise.

Tristy Nielsen said the house has been in her family for decades. The property was at one time the site of a turkey farm. She had lived and raised her family in the small house until 2005. Most recently, her father lived in the house until March when a new home next door was complete.

Now that the home is destroyed, Nielsen said trees will probably be planted in its place.

Biller said the fire district tries to burn down two homes a year for training purposes.

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