A fire northeast of Everson destroyed a mobile home Monday evening, Aug. 4, where two men had lived.
Heavy black smoke could be seen for miles billowing from the densely wooded dead end of Carl Road at 6:45 p.m. Fire engines were en route to investigate the smoke when neighbors called 911 saying flames were engulfing a doublewide mobile home.
Once firefighters reached the end of the long driveway, they found the entire home ablaze, said Chief Mel Blankers of Whatcom County Fire District No. 1. No one was home.
Overhanging trees caught fire. Propane tanks exploded. Barrels of diesel fuel were lugged away before the flames could ignite them. A 1,000-foot fire hose couldn't reach from the end of the driveway to the tight quarters around the home. Firefighters had to make do with the little space they had.
Five fire engines and seven water tenders - from Fire District No. 1, Fire District No. 14 and North Whatcom Fire and Rescue - worked to keep the flames from spreading. An old shuttle bus parked nearby burned; some ATVs and motorcycles were badly damaged; a few other vehicles were saved in time.
A Ford pickup truck in danger of catching fire still had the keys inside. A firefighter drove it a safe distance away.
No one was hurt. But in the end, the home burned to almost nothing.
"It was so far gone I couldn't tell you how big it was," Blankers said.
The home had a value around $25,000, while the motorbikes, ATVs and other damaged vehicles amounted to a loss of about another $10,000, according to fire officials.
Officially the fire has been labeled an accident, said Will Anderson, an investigator with the county fire marshal's office. The cause hasn't been determined, and much of the evidence that could have helped to solve the case was lost in the flames.
The homeowner told the investigator he had no clue what could have sparked the fire. The man said he hadn't been home for about two hours, according to Blankers. He lived there with a renter. His son sometimes stayed there, too.
The Mt. Baker Chapter of the American Red Cross gave the residents clothes, food and hygiene kits, and will help them to search for new permanent housing.