Using garden hoses, neighbors help fight fire

Freeland residents used garden hoses to help firefighters battle a house fire Saturday.

No one was injured in the fire that severely damaged an unattended two-story home, according to South Whidbey Fire/EMS Deputy Chief of Operations Terry Ney.

The cause of the fire, located on Spinnaker Drive, is still under investigation. However, Ney said he suspects an extension cable or barbecue on the back deck may be responsible for igniting the blaze.

A neighbor reported the fire at 4:56 p.m. Firefighters with South Whidbey Fire/EMS arrived on scene shortly afterward. They were joined by Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue, the Island County Sheriff’s Office, Whidbey Health EMS and the county road department.

Ney said at least half of the house was engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

Firefighters used a combination of exterior and interior fire suppression tactics. After the outside of the house was sprayed with water, firefighters donned their self-contained breathing apparatuses and attacked the fire from the inside.

Firefighters had the blaze under control after about 30 minutes, Ney said.

Because the homes in the Holmes Harbor neighborhoods are built close together, the fire could easily have spread, Ney said. He added the neighbors who sprayed the fire with their garden hoses helped to keep the fire at bay.

“The house to the south was definitely at risk of having the fire spread to it,” Ney said.

That home has large propane tanks, and water from the garden hoses kept the tanks cool.

Red Cross workers responded to help the resident, who had a place to stay.