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Nooksack farmhouse gutted by morning fire

A home on E. Madison Street, shown in this earlier photo, was gutted by a fire early Monday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Nooksack.
A home on E. Madison Street, shown in this earlier photo, was gutted by a fire early Monday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Nooksack. Courtesy to the Bellingham Herald

A candle-making accident likely sparked a fire that gutted a Nooksack home early Monday, Jan. 18, according to the chief of Whatcom Fire District 1.

A tenant of the farmhouse, a woman about 40 years old, had been making candles in her bedroom around 7 a.m., said Fire Chief Mel Blankers.

She left the room for a moment and returned to find smoke. She tried to put out the fire with a blanket, but could not, so she fled to call 911 from a neighbor’s house.

Firefighters reached the scene at 503 E. Madison St. within 7 minutes of the call, Blankers said. By then, flames were shooting out of one window. In the next 30 seconds or so, as firefighters prepared to get water on the house, flames flared out of a second window.

Fire engines from District 1 and neighboring districts responded. It took about 50 minutes to get the flames under control, and firefighters remained on the scene for about 2 ½ hours.

The structure remained standing. All of the home’s contents burned. No one was hurt.

The chief wasn’t sure what aspect of the candle-making process led to the fire. He noted that candle makers often use a hot plate to heat up wax.

The Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office was called to investigate the cause.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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