They were sleeping as a fire burned their Bellingham home. What woke them in time?

Getty Images

A fire destroyed a Cherrywood Avenue house early Thursday morning, but a sound alerted the two residents in time for them to escape.

"They were asleep in the house when they heard glass breaking," said Bill Hewett, assistant fire chief for the Bellingham Fire Department.

The fire at 3020 Cherrywood Ave. was reported at 12:39 a.m. Thursday. The man and the woman who lived there were outside the three-bedroom house when firefighters arrived.

They both had inhaled smoke and one had minor burns similar to a sunburn, Hewett said.

The two were treated by medics for smoke inhalation, and then taken to St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham for further evaluation.

Three cars — one in the garage and two parked alongside the house — were damaged.

Heat from the fire melted the vinyl siding of a house next door, the one to the right if you're facing the home that was destroyed.

The fire could be seen from blocks away, and Hewett said it was a "glow in the sky that initiated the very first call."

"It was definitely well involved prior to 911 being called," he said

An investigation showed the fire started in a covered porch area at the back of the house, Hewett said.

What caused it couldn't be determined.

"There was nothing there that indicated foul play or anything suspicious," Hewett said.

It could have been worse, given where the fire started.

"They were very lucky to be able to get out of there and escape the fire. It was very well involved," Hewett said. "It's kind of a tricky thing. When you get a fire on the exterior of the building, it doesn't necessarily generate the smoke inside that would trigger your smoke alarms.

"In this case that covered porch area kind of kept the fire under wraps, if you will, until it finally broke through the roof."

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea