Cause of massive Federal Way house fire under investigation

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Three people are recovering after a massive house fire happened on Tuesday in Federal Way.

Video shot by a KIRO 7 photographer shows the house fully engulfed in flames.

When a KIRO7 crew returned to check out the damage Wednesday morning, there was still a hotspot burning and a strong smell of smoke lingering in the air.

South King Fire says they were called around 2:40 p.m. When crews arrived, the flames were so intense that in a matter of minutes, the house was totally consumed.

Neighbors say they heard explosions.

“You know we could hear a lot of stuff blowing up,” said Chris Steeenbergen.

Steeenbergen owns the house next door, which was damaged in the fire.

“It melted all the vinyl windows, fiberglass door looks like cardboard now, even the aluminum gutter you’ll see it’s all wavy now,” he said.

Steeenbergen credits his neighbor for saving his house.

“He came through with a hose and saw it and was running water inside the window. There was fire coming into underneath the framing of it,” said Steeenbergen.

Firefighters say three people were inside the house and had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

Neighbors tell KIRO7 there has been a number of issues associated with the property for years.

“It’s been a neighborhood problem for at least 15, 20 years. Basically, turned into a meth house. I probably call the city every four months. It’s ridiculous. I’ve called every department, from housing to everything,” said Steeenbergen.

Steeenbergen feels like Tuesday’s fire could have been prevented if the city and county would have taken action a long time ago.

“You think there would have been something they could of done. We’ve talked about the smells, we’ve talked about the traffic, it’s always different people. They’ve had campers parked in the yard, it’s been a real show,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

KIRO 7 reached out to King County, the city of Federal Way and Federal Way Police to see how many complaints they’ve gotten about the property - how and what could have been done in this situation - but we have not heard back.