A fire caused $30,000 damage and razed a detached garage at the Whatcom Humane Society’s 10-acre farm on North Telegraph Road the night of Sunday, Jan. 4.
A car parked inside the garage also was destroyed in the fire, which was reported about 7:52 p.m. by a passing motorist who saw smoke coming from the garage. He stopped and alerted the caretakers living in a house that was about 20 feet from the burning building.
“If he hadn’t, I don’t know what would’ve happened,” said Laura Clark, executive director of the humane society.
The garage had a chicken coop attached to the back of it, and a heat lamp in the coop caught fire. About six chickens inside the coop died. They belonged to the caretakers.
The humane society cares for unwanted and abused horses at the farm. There were about seven horses there, but they were in a separate barn that was away from the fire, according to Clark.
“Thankfully, no humans or horses were injured. But, sadly, the chickens did perish,” Clark said.
The heat from the fire also melted the vinyl siding on the caretakers’ house.
An electrical fault was the cause of the fire, according to fire investigators.
Whatcom County Fire District No. 1 crew found the garage fully burning when they arrived.
Crews, working in freezing rain and slush, knocked down the flames in about 14 minutes, according to fire Chief Mel Blankers. The wind was blowing away from the caretakers’ house.
“We got it under control pretty quick,” he said. “We had a great response from all our volunteers, and they did a good job getting water on it right away.”
The Sumas Fire Department also responded.
Clark didn’t know the identity of the good Samaritan.
“We have no idea,” she said of the motorist. “He alerted them, let them know that he had already called 911, then he was gone. We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough for doing this.”
People who want to donate to the Whatcom Humane Society can do so by going online to whatcomhumane.org.