Possible arson in fire that consumes barn, cars near Ferndale

Authorities are investigating a possible arson fire that destroyed a barn, a fifth-wheel trailer and several cars worth an estimated $100,000 Wednesday morning, Aug. 24.

Firefighters from Whatcom County Fire District 7 were dispatched to a fire at 6057 Northwest Drive about 5:40 a.m. Wednesday, said Division Chief Ben Boyko. He could see a large column of black smoke as he approached and firefighters found the building engulfed in flames when they arrived, he said.

“It was pretty much all corners of the building that were involved,” Boyko said. He said it was a pole barn about 40 to 60 feet.

Firefighters used larger diameter hoses to pour about 500 gallons a minute of water on the building from the outside. Trucks called water tenders, including one from North Whatcom Fire & Rescue, were used because there are no hydrants in the area. No injuries were reported.

Boyko said four cars inside the barn were destroyed, as were a fifth-wheel trailer and an SUV parked outside. Although the fire was out by about 6:20 a.m., firefighters remained until 8:20 a.m., picking through the rubble and dousing embers. The crew of a brush truck remained until 10:30 a.m. as a fire watch because the barn was surrounded by vegetation that could ignite in recent hot, dry weather.

Meanwhile, county fire investigators and sheriff’s officials could say only that the fire was “under investigation,” said Undersheriff Jeff Parks. “I realize that the owner or the victim is alleging arson, but we’re still trying to put this together.”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty