Four people were displaced but nobody was injured by a “tricky” two-alarm fire early Wednesday that destroyed a Puget neighborhood house on Lakeway Drive across the street from the 7-11 convenience store.
“It was a total loss,” Bellingham Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Hewett told The Bellingham Herald. “You drive by and see the outside, and it doesn’t look like a whole lot. But inside was completely devastated by fire.”
Firefighters were called at 1:27 a.m. to the 1300 block of Lakeway Drive for the report of the structure fire.
“Crews got there and found heavy smoke coming out of every orifice of the house — every window, every door, even the chimney,” Hewett said.
There were signs that the house had been boarded up, Hewett said, but crews quickly learned that there were four people occupying the home at the time of the fire, though it was unclear if they were owners, renters or there under “some other arrangement.” All were able to escape without injury.
Fighting the fire proved difficult, though, as the structure was relatively old and constructed of wood and plaster rather than sheetrock in newer homes.
“It was a tricky fire,” Hewett said. “We had fire in various parts of the building, but it was even trickier in the attic. We had limited access and it was broken up, as far as some walls and stuff — just really tricky. ... It took a lot of personnel to open up the spaces and get the fire completely extinguished.”
Because of that time and effort, Hewett said a second alarm was called in, bringing crews from South Whatcom Fire Authority and Whatcom County District 7 to assist. All told, crews were on scene for approximately five hours.
Hewett said investigators were still looking into the cause of the fire.