Chilly winds whipping out of the Fraser Valley fanned flames Wednesday evening, making it impossible for Whatcom County fire crews to save a two-story house along Ten Mile Road.
The good news is the house was vacant.
“We knew nobody was in the house and that there was nobody living there,” North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Division Chief Henry Hollander told The Bellingham Herald late Thursday. “We had crews from Lynden, North Whatcom and Ferndale, and we surrounded it with hose line, called in the tenders (trucks that transport water) and put a whole lot of water on it.”
Hollander said crews were on scene putting water on the fire until approximately 10 p.m. after first being called to the structure fire at 514 Ten Mile Road.
“If we had left anything glowing, the wind just would have rekindled it,” Hollander said.
Crews immediately had to fight the fire defensively, as Hollander said the small two-story house was fully involved with flames visible from three sides when they got on scene.
Firefighters were able to keep flames from spreading to a couple of nearby barns on the property, but Hollander said the house was a total loss, as “there wasn’t one area of the house that was not affected by fire.”
The cause of the fire is likely to remain undetermined, Whatcom County fire inspector Mitch Nolze told The Bellingham Herald Friday.
“Due to the extent of the damage and the wind, it was unsafe for us to enter for our investigation,” Nolze said. “Because it was an abandoned, vacant home and we can’t confirm that it was secured, we can’t rule out any incendiary sources, while at the same time we can’t rule out accidental causes, because there was still electricity and a wood heating stove in the house. We’re not likely to get a determined cause on this one.”