Fire guts Orcas Island home

Fire guts Orcas Island home

(Orcas Island Fire and Rescue)

Eastsound, Wash. — A home on Orcas Island is no more after a fierce fire consumed what firefighters said was a large home in the 6300 block of Deer Harbor Road.

Kimberley Kimple, a spokesperson for San Juan County Fire Protect District 2, said crews with Orcas Island Fire and Rescue were called about 3:30 p.m. Friday to reports of a structure fire.

When crews arrived, they found the home completely engulfed in flames, Kimple said.

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"The heat was incredibly intense,"  firefighter Ben Luna, who was first on the scene, said. "It was completely involved."

Officials said firefighters attacked the fire defensively once it was confirmed that no one was inside.

The heat from the flames was so intense, it kept crews from completing an initial 360-degree assessment of the property, officials said.

Additional agencies were also called to fight the fire, including the San Juan County Fire Department, which sent a fireboat that docked at the back of the property, drawing water from the harbor to keep the fire from reaching a 500-gallon propane tank, Kimple said.

A Washington Department of Natural Resources wildland fire crew returning from a controlled burn on an outer island also helped when a wildland fire broke out after flames spread from the home.

Officials said there were no fire hydrants in the area so crews had to perform a "water shuttle," where firefighters took turns drafting water from a local pond and dropping it into a tank set up at the scene.

The owner was at home at the time and told officials as soon as he saw the fire, he grabbed a hose and attempted to put it out. "I quickly realized it was not going to work." He ran to a neighbor's, called 911 and warned them to get out.

Crews remained at the scene overnight as the fire burned, Kimple said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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