A fire ripped through an Ocean Shores home Monday afternoon, rendering it uninhabitable.
The initial call came in a little bit after 2 p.m., said Ocean Shores Fire Department firefighter/public information officer Kara McDermott.
“It was originally reported by a neighbor who reported seeing flames come from the roof, but wasn’t sure what street it was on,” McDermott said in a phone interview. “Police were able to get to the scene first and update us on the address.”
The whole front of the house was ablaze when firefighters arrived on-scene, McDermott said.
“Flames were coming from the whole front side of the building; it was actually difficult to determine the shape of the building,” McDermott said. “We called it as fully involved right away.”
Department policy is to treat every building as occupied until it’s checked clear, McDermott said, but the billowing flames made approaching difficult.
“The building’s not clear until we say it’s clear,” McDermott said. “With as much fire as we were dealing with, we had to make an initial knockdown before making entry. Once we had the initial knockdown, we were able to make entry.”
The homeowner returned at that point, McDermott said, adding they had no reason to believe anyone was in the residence.
“Number one priority was getting that knockdown and getting it under control. After that, we want to search and we want to vent. After that, we go into mop-up,” McDermott said. “We’re always searching. We’re always making sure, triple checking that the house was clear.”
The cause of the fire is unknown at this point, McDermott said.
“As of right now, we don’t know the cause. Our fire investigator is going through his investigative process,” McDermott said. “That front part of the house had the most fire impact.”
Wet weather helped prevent the spread, McDermott said, even if rain is unpleasant to work in.
“We got an assist from the weather on this fire. We were working in very rainy conditions,” McDermott said. “It was very helpful in wetting down a lot of the vegetation around the structure.”
McDermott also praised Chief Stephanie Selin and Grays Harbor Fire District 7, as well as other Ocean Shores emergency organizations, for assisting OSFD in responding to the fire. McDermott also recognized Nick Frymire, who joined the department several months ago, as he tackled his first structure fire.
“He was instrumental in that initial knockdown,” McDermott said. “He was one of the guys holding the handlines during the knockdown.”
Structure fire season
Winter often marks a transition in the types of fires departments across the county respond to, as they largely shift from outdoors to indoors fires. Ocean Shores has seen two houses destroyed by fire in eight days as the temperature drops.
“Fires can happen at any time,” McDermott said. “We know when temperatures get colder, there are a lot more things at play that can contribute to structure fires.”
The two fires are not connected, as far as the department is aware, McDermott said.
“We don’t know yet what caused these fires, but we want people to be aware of the hazards that can happen as we change our lifestyle from summer into fall and winter,” McDermott said.
National Fire Prevention Week is next week, with many departments planning events to raise awareness of how to prevent a house fire in one’s home.