Two recent fires in north Whatcom County were ruled accidents this week by the fire marshal.
First, a 50-by-100-foot barn in the 9400 block of Swanson Road near Sumas was destroyed Dec. 16 because a homeowner left an oil heater on overnight so his John Deere tractor could start up faster in the morning, said Whatcom County Fire Marshal Will Anderson.
An electrical problem sparked the blaze, causing an estimated $100,000 damage. It was the first time the homeowner had used the heater this year.
On Dec. 17, a small vacation-style home on Henley Street in Blaine burned down. The resident, a man in his 50s, was awakened at 5:55 a.m. by the smoke. He escaped but suffered burns to his feet.
Anderson said the most likely cause of the fire was a baseboard heater that was too close to a pile of the man's belongings. But because no crime is suspected, the official cause will be left up to insurance company investigators.