This home would have been lost if not for a passerby


A passerby called 911 and alerted Birch Bay residents that their garage was ablaze Wednesday, giving firefighters a chance to save the house, officials said.

Fire apparently started near one of two newer Cadillacs in the four- to five-car garage of a home at 8283 Shintaffer Road, about a block from the shore, said Whatcom County fire investigator Mitch Nolze.

“A passerby came up and pounded on the door,” Nolze said. Nolze said the residents had arrived home less than an hour before the fire was reported about 5 p.m.

No injuries were reported, said Chief William Pernett of North Whatcom Fire and Rescue.

Pernett said the approximately 1,000-square-foot detached garage was “well-involved” in fire when firefighters arrived within three minutes of dispatch.

“We got enough units on scene pretty quickly to overwhelm it,” Pernett said. He said firefighters from Lynden and Whatcom County Fire District 7 assisted.

Cause of the fire remained undetermined pending an investigation, Nolze said. He estimated damage at $250,000 to the garage and its contents.

Nolze said the fire heavily damaged the garage and caused minor damage to the home. The two buildings are connected by a breezeway.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty