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Flames were on the roof, but damage contained to the area near the crematorium

Bellingham Police tweeted a photo from the fire scene Wednesday evening, showing a Bellingham Fire Department aerial ladder truck outside Jerns Funeral Chapel, 800 E. Sunset Drive.
Bellingham Police tweeted a photo from the fire scene Wednesday evening, showing a Bellingham Fire Department aerial ladder truck outside Jerns Funeral Chapel, 800 E. Sunset Drive. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Fire damaged a Bellingham funeral home Wednesday evening.

No injuries were reported in the 7:06 p.m. Wednesday fire at Jerns Funeral Chapel, 800 Sunset Drive, fire officials said.

Smoke and flames were showing through the roof when firefighters arrived, said Assistant Chief Bill Hewett of the Bellingham Fire Department.

"Crews got there, Engine 4, and knocked it down from the outside," Hewett said. "Then they went inside and got the rest."

He said the fire was under control by 7:34 p.m.

Hewett said damage was contained to the rear corner of the building along Sunset Drive, where the crematorium is housed.

He estimated damage at $75,000 to the building, and possibly an additional $125,000 to replace equipment.

Cause and origin of the fire was under investigation, he said.

He said an employee called 911 to report the fire.

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Fire damaged Jerns Funeral Chapel, 800 E. Sunset Drive, about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Fire was contained to the crematory area. An alcove behind the building showed fire damage Thursday. Robert Mittendorf The Bellingham Herald


Jerns' parking lot was empty early Thursday morning.

A call to the office was fielded by an answering service, after the business's regular opening hours.

According to its website, Jerns is owned by Brad Bytnar, who bought the business from a company that Nick Jerns sold it to when he retired in 2007.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty Mittendorf is a volunteer firefighter with South Whatcom Fire Authority.
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