Drain cleaner ignites fire that decimates Oak Harbor home

No one was injured by the flames although one of the occupants lost three rats.

Two people lost their Oak Harbor home after a mix of household cleaning supplies ignited a chemical fire Sunday night.

Oak Harbor Fire Chief Ray Merrill said firefighters from Oak Harbor Fire Department, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and the Navy responded at 6:45 p.m. to a mobile home on fire at Parkwood Manor on Northwest Crosby Avenue.

They put out the flames in 30 minutes, but the home was a total loss.

“They burn very intensely, and there were a lot of hidden fires that we had to get to because of the construction of the mobile home,” Merrill said.

He said firefighters believe the fire began under the kitchen sink when one of the occupants mixed two kinds of drain cleaner. It set off a chemical reaction that sparked the fire.

“Be careful about mixing chemicals,” Merrill said. “They can react violently.”

Michelle Mann said she had lived at the home for the last two years. She said she is staying with her daughter for the moment. Although no one was injured, Mann said she lost her three rats.

A friend salvaged her cell phone, which Mann said survived only because of its case, as well as a memorial box of her mother’s.

“The outside is damaged but the inside is untouched,” she said.

The Red Cross has been helping Mann and her roommate. Mann said she did not know if there was a fundraiser set up yet, although some people had reached out through social media. But she hoped her daughter would help her with one.

The National Capital Poison Control Center advises people never to mix household cleaning products and to read the safety instructions to prevent poisoning or injury.