After a fire last week in Elma destroyed his home, Christopher Turner said he had a number of competing concerns, but the largest was for his cat, Prince.
“I have my ups and downs,” Turner said in a phone interview. “My main thing is I don’t know if my cat got out.”
Turner said he was heading back to town from Aberdeen on Feb. 25 when his brother called.
“I got a phone call from my brother, who lives around the corner,” Turner said. “He said, ‘There’s a fire by your house.’”
The fire broke out on Murray Place, south of Elma, said East Grays Harbor Fire and Rescue Chief Adam Fulbright.
“At approximately 12:39, East Grays Harbor Fire Rescue was dispatched to a fully involved structure fire,” Fulbright said in a phone interview. “The initial crews did confirm a fully involved structure fire at a single story residential fire with extension to a large tree and a secondary structure.”
The fire had began at a neighbor’s house, Turner said, though he’d heard varying versions of how it began. A cause of the fire hasn’t been identified at the time of the interview, Fulbright said. It took 22 firefighters from a variety of districts and counties to bring the fire under control, Fulbright said, including East Grays Harbor Fire and Rescue, Grays Harbor Fire District 2, Grays Harbor Fire District 12 and Mason County.
“We always appreciate and thank all the responding agencies,” Fulbright said. “As a small rural agency, it takes all of us to take care of the citizens and to make the scene safe and effective for the responders.”
The fire was extinguished within hours, but both residences were destroyed. Now, Turner said he’s got to figure out what comes next.
Turner said he goes back to the wreckage daily to look for Prince, while staying at his folk’s place and trying to sort out the next steps. Prince is chipped, Turner said. Prince is a black cat, who has spent his life as an indoor cat, Turner said.
“I’ve been speaking with the Red Cross,” Turner said. “Is there some sort of check-off box list?”
The structure is totalled, Turner said, completely unsalvageable.
“I can’t even tell if anything is in there,” Turner said. “It’s ash. It’s destroyed.”
Turner said he was unable to get insurance on the residence due to the age of its manufacture.
“I don’t know what to do next. I didn’t have insurance on it because it was a 1969. Insurance companies won’t insure that.” Turner said. “I wish I knew before I bought the place that I couldn’t get insurance on it.”
Turner said he’s just going to work for his apprenticeship at the state’s Department of Labor and Industries while he tries to figure out what comes next. People have been helpful in donating some things, Turner said, but there’s so much that it’s difficult to think about what you specifically need. An acquaintance also started a crowdfunding campaign to help Turner on GoFundMe.
“I can’t do anything until there’s something to do,” Turner said. “I wish there was some sort of basic checkbox you could go off of. You just know your stuff’s gone.”
Turner asked that anyone with information on Prince’s whereabouts contact him at at ChrisTurner1984@icloud.com or 360-964-0888.
Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.