Crime

Backyard smoker blamed for fire that damaged Lynden home

Ashes from a backyard smoker caused a small fire in a home west of downtown Lynden late afternoon Thursday, July 21.

Residents of the home, a unit in a fourplex near the corner of Woodcreek Drive and 19th Street, were smoking fish and dumped the hot embers on landscaping wood chips, said Lynden fire Chief Gary Barr.

“She thought they were cool enough, so she dumped them on the beauty bark,” Barr said. “Thank goodness they caught it when they did.”

Barr said the residents soon smelled smoke and then a resident and a neighbor fought the fire with a garden hose.

Flames ignited a bush near the house, spreading to the eaves and into the attic. One resident suffered a minor injury “like a sunburn” from the heat, Barr said.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue and Lynden Fire each sent an engine company to the fire, which was extinguished within minutes of the 4:40 p.m. dispatch. Firefighters cut into the eaves and pulled drywall from the ceiling to make sure the flames were out. Damage was $4,000 to $5,000, Barr said.

Barr suggested that embers from a fireplace or grill should be placed in a metal bucket away from a building.

“Leave it out for a day so, so that you know it’s cooled down,” Barr said. “Don’t throw it in the garbage” until it’s absolutely cool, he said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @goMittygo

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