The cause of the fire Monday afternoon that damaged an old home being restored in the 100 block of South Forest Street remains under investigation.
John Nickell, 68, was outside in his garden on the corner of Bryant and South Garden streets when he saw smoke coming out of the turret area of the home at 158 S. Forest St.
Nickell said he could hear the crackling of the flames, so he called 911.
“I told the lady (dispatcher) to get down there real soon, or somebody should,” Nickell said, adding he saw restoration crews working on the house at the time of the fire.
Nickell was unsure whether anyone lived there.
Soon after the call at around 4:15 p.m., multiple fire crews responded to the scene. Bellingham Fire Chief Bill Newbold said the fire started on the roof, but then broke out and spread – the fire was quickly put out by crews from the Bellingham Fire Department and South Whatcom Fire Authority.
Damage was mostly contained to the roof and turret area, Newbold said.
Newbold said he didn’t know the cause of the fire or the extent of the damage, adding it was unclear whether anyone was inside the house at the time of the fire.
The six-bedroom house, which was built in 1903, was last appraised in 2016 at $872,548, according to data from the county assessor’s office.