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Residents flee porch fire that damages Roosevelt-area home

E. Illinois Street fire

Fire damaged a house at 1712 E. Illinois St. In Bellingham about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17.
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Fire damaged a house at 1712 E. Illinois St. In Bellingham about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Fire damaged a Roosevelt Neighborhood home and a classic car early Wednesday, Aug. 17.

James Galen said his wife heard noise about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday and awakened to see flames licking through the door frame of an entrance where the fire apparently started on the porch of the home at 1712 E. Illinois St. He said smoke alarms hadn’t sounded because the fire was burning mostly outside. Then, three windows near the door shattered with explosive force, he said.

“It just barely got in the house,” Galen said Wednesday morning, but smoke spread a layer of soot everywhere. “Every last surface in the entire house is darkened.”

Galen, his wife and son, another adult, and a dog all got out safely.

He said he and a neighbor fought the fire with garden hoses until firefighters arrived within minutes.

Galen said he rents the home, which is a converted barn that’s approximately 100 years old. He was operating several fans with hope that the home would be habitable by the end of Wednesday.

He said flames melted the grille of his 1974 BMW model 2002 sedan, which was protected by a tarp.

Cause of the fire and a damage estimate were not released pending an investigation. Galen said the fire could have been an electrical problem or caused by someone smoking.

According to the emergency services app Pulse Point, firefighters were dispatched at 2:38 a.m.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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