Contents of storage units fuel 3-alarm fire



MONROE, Wash. -  

Customers’ belongings fueled a blaze at a Monroe storage facility that quickly escalated into a huge 3-alarm fire.


Crews were called to Chain Lake Storage at 14911 Chain Lake Road just after 1 a.m. after receiving reports of smoke and fire coming from two units Thursday.


Firefighters quickly upgraded the call to two alarms.  By 2:18 a.m., the fire had spread and reached three-alarm status.  


At one point, the building where the blaze began looked like a huge ball of fire.   


According to Monore fire, 186 units were destroyed or damaged but firefighters prevented the flames from reaching the office and caretaker's residence and hundreds of other units at the facility were unaffected.  The initial report of the number of the units affected was much less.


Fire officials said at least 56 storage units were destroyed by fire and another 30 were heavily damaged.  Another 100 units received water damage.  The building was protected by a fire alarm system, but was not protected with sprinklers.


Firefighters from across Snohomish County responded, cutting holes in the corrugated metal siding and then flooding the units with massive amounts of water.  Some of the burning units glowed red from the internal heat.


Around 5 a.m., KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Rick Price said he heard a small explosion.


A renter at the scene, Lorne Counter, told Price that he was storing sunglasses, plastic glassware, an antique trailer and other inventory for his online business at the facility.


Counter said he smelled plastic burning but hoped it was something other than his goods burning.


“It’s a lot of inventory to lose,” said Counter.


 Hours later, crews remained at the scene.  Some units had to be ripped apart to ensure all hot spots were eliminated.


Finding the cause of the fire could take days.


No injuries were reported.