Marysville, Wash. - The wait lasted almost two hours -- as a gutted two-story home first burned brightly, then smoldered and belched smoke.
Neighbors of the home on the 9400 block of 62nd Drive NE in Marysville called 911 when they heard windows explode, and saw the flames pouring out at about 9:30 p.m. Monday.
Some neighbors saw cats come out, and they quickly scooped them up and brought them inside their own homes. Firefighters say when they arrived about seven minutes later, the home was completely engulfed in flames.
Immediately, it became a defensive situation. Crews scrambled to keep a hose on the flames, and another to douse nearby homes and make them more resistant to the heat.
As firefighters worked, neighbors waited and wondered whether anyone was inside.
Firefighters couldn't give a quick answer. Even once they had control of the flames and could concentrate on hot spots, they couldn't enter the home. The burned-out structure was too unstable.
Meanwhile, two cars sat in the driveway. Crews looked at them and wondered whether that meant the owners were home. But they took hope from the fact that the vehicles looked like they had not been driven for a while and were maybe left there to be worked on.
Smoke was still spewing after two hours, but the flames were out. Firefighters took to the wooden shingles on the outside of the home, peeling them back, yanking at the walls. They were working to get inside to see if the fire had been deadly.
Then the wait was over. Before crews could even get inside, the owner showed up at the scene. The home had been empty when the fire started. Everyone in the family was called and was accounted for.
The home, however, is a total loss. Now the investigation begins into a cause.