Fire in Two Story Duplex Displaces Seven People

Last Updated on Friday, 27 October 2017 19:13


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           Incident commander Deputy Chief Ray Lamoureux


Wednesday, May 31, 2017           Fire Chief Mike Heston




Accidental fire caused by discarded cigarette


          PULLMAN—A fire that apparently started on the outside deck of a two story Pullman structure destroyed an upper unit and caused some damage to a lower unit, displacing seven residents several cats and at least three dogs and a goldfish.  All of the residents and animals were evacuated safely and there were no injuries.


          Fire crews were called to the structure by neighbor around 4:30 pm Wednesday who told 9-1-1 operators that he could see flames and smoke coming from the upper unit of the house at 221 NW Sunrise Dr.  Neighbors alerted occupants of the downstairs duplex, at 223 NW Sunrise, of the fire and all escaped unharmed.


          Flames were pouring through the roof when firefighters, including Whitman County Rural District 12, first arrived.  They made quick entry into the upper unit and found that the fire had penetrated the ceiling and was in the attic.  The intensity of the fire even burned through the roof so firefighters poured water on a nearby tree to make sure it did not ignite and possibly spread to another house.


          When crews entered the house, firefighters found a Great Dane dog trapped on the upper deck and in apparent distress.  They managed to get a ladder to the area and rescued the dog and returned the animal to its owner in good condition.


          The upstairs unit sustained extensive fire, smoke and water damage and could not be reoccupied.  The downstairs until was spared any fire or smoke damage but did sustain some water damage.  Fire officials said there were at least two people living upstairs along with three dogs and the goldfish.  The downstairs unit was occupied by two adults and their three children, along with two cats and a dog.  The fire department offered to call the American Red Cross to help with shelter for the residents but they told firefighters they had places to stay and did not need emergency housing.


          Deputy Fire Marshal Tony Nuttman ruled the fire as accidental and said the fire was started by a discarded cigarette on the outside deck.  A resident had disposed of a cigarette in an old plastic recycle bin that was filled with cardboard and paper.  There was no an immediate estimate of damage to the two story structure.


          Fire chief Mike Heston said fires like this one emphasize the importance of occupants carrying renters insurance.  One neighbor said she purchased renters insurance for $75 for the full year and covers about everything if there was a fire.


-PFD—        (Written by Glenn Johnson, PFD/PIO)