Crime

Fire near Everson destroys shop building, truck as owner runs inside; no one injured

Tri-City Herald

A man ran into his burning shop building to save his truck and attached camper – but still lost them – in a fire near Everson on Friday.

No one was injured in the fire, said Mitch Nolze, an investigator for the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office. But the value of the ruined shop, truck and camper was estimated at $150,000, he said.

Crews were dispatched to 1824 Central Road about 2:30 p.m., said Randy Vanderheiden, assistant chief with Whatcom County Fire District 1. First firefighters on the scene saw flames coming from the top of the metal, 30-by-40-foot building, Vanderheiden said.

The property owner had run into the burning building before crews arrived, Vanderheiden said, to remove the truck with the bed camper that was parked inside. He had moved the truck to a nearby field away from other buildings, but both had caught fire and were a complete loss, Vanderheiden said.

A patch of grass also was burning behind the building; investigators believe the fire may have started there and spread to the shop, Nolze said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Crews went to work preventing the fire from spreading, paying close attention to another shop building to the west and a home to the north, Vanderheiden said. Inside the burning shop were paint cans, propane and fuel tanks, but “nothing significantly impeding our fire attack,” he said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 45 minutes, he said. The roof of the building eventually collapsed, along with three of the shop’s four walls. Crews from the Lynden Fire Department and North Whatcom Fire and Rescue also helped fight the fire.

The homeowner, Vanderheiden said, told firefighters he didn’t need medical attention despite running into the shop as it burned.

The fire was a reminder, Vanderheiden said, that dry conditions still make it easy for fires to spread, even when it’s cold outside.

“The humidity levels have been pretty low, so grasses and fuels like that are pretty dry, especially with the winds that we’ve had,” he said. “It’s pretty dangerous to burn outside right now.”

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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