A fire at a cabin in Birch Bay left a man and a woman with burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries early Friday, when they tried to rescue their dogs from the flames, according to fire officials.
The couple, in their 40s, awoke to the smell of smoke around 1:45 a.m. in their one-story cabin at 8112 Birch Bay Drive in The Idlesse Condominiums, along the shore of Birch Bay, said Mitch Nolze, an investigator with the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office.
They escaped the cabin, No. 25, but suffered cuts, smoke inhalation and significant burns when they tried to rescue their dogs. North Whatcom firefighters battled flames that spread to a two-story community building next-door. Crews from Lynden and Ferndale were called in to help extinguish the fires.
Burn patterns suggest the fire started in the living room of the cabin along a wall, Nolze said. No working smoke alarms were found in the home. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but at this point, authorities don’t believe it appears suspicious.
Both buildings will likely be total losses due to the extreme flame, smoke, heat and structural damage. Investigators believe two large-breed dogs and one smaller dog perished in the fire, Nolze said. The residents were rushed to St. Joseph hospital.
Later one of the residents, Randy Lee Parten, was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with burns over 20 percent of his body, said Mike Kent, director of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce. Parten, a yacht salesman, is the chamber’s previous president.
Parten remained at the Seattle hospital in satisfactory condition Friday. Property records show Parten’s family owns the cabin. A page on GoFundMe.com has been set up to support him.