A bedroom was charred, and the rest of the home inundated with smoke and water after combustibles stored too close to a wall heater apparently caught fire in Kingston early Wednesday morning.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews were called to a duplex on Kingston Meadow Circle at 7:28 a.m. Wednesday after other occupants of the building called 911 to report a fire in their neighbor’s unit. They had heard banging sounds coming through the shared wall between the two 1,273 square-foot, two-story dwellings. The neighbor knew that nobody was home next door and went outside to investigate, finding smoke coming from the other unit.
Firefighters for NKF&R credit this early reporting, closed doors and quick response for limiting damage to the unit of origin.
The first crews to arrive on the scene took less than five minutes after dispatch. Noting signs that there was a fire inside, a crew forced open the locked front door to find the smoke’s source and to search for occupants. Firefighters made their way upstairs and located the fire behind a closed door in one of the home’s three bedrooms. Though it had grown to involve most of the small space, the fire was quickly snuffed and heat damage was limited to the adjacent ceiling areas. No one was found inside; the homeowner, who had been away at the time of the fire, returned later to confirm that the place was unoccupied.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office also responded to the scene.
Physical evidence and witness statements point to a cardboard wardrobe box, stuffed with clothing, against a thermostat-controlled wall heater as the likely culprit of the fire. The wall heater’s controller was severely damaged by the flames, but the homeowner told the investigator that it was in the “off” position. Officials emphasize the importance of keeping combustibles clear rather than relying on thermostats to prevent the activation of heating devices.
This incident was NKF&R’s second fire response this week. On Tuesday morning, an unattended candle filled a Jefferson Beach home with smoke, it was noted that the residence had no working smoke alarms. The sleeping occupants of the residence were only alerted to the danger when one was awakened by a phone alarm.
Damage in that fire was limited to the effects of smoke throughout the 1,500 square foot structure.
Candles are among the top-five fire causes in the U.S., sparking an average of 8,200 home fires every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
A third fire broke out Wednesday afternoon at 2:11 p.m., crews from across North Kitsap were dispatched to a house fire in Little Boston.
When the first unit arrived at the Sidewind Loop residence, the smoke remained visible but flames were out. A passerby apparently saw smoke coming from the home and took a closer look. When he found flames coming from the kitchen stove, he used water from the adjacent kitchen sink in an effort to extinguish them. The home was outfitted with over-the-stove automatic units that, when exposed to high heat, release an extinguishing agent.
Still, heavy smoke impacted the small residence throughout.
This incident marks the fourth time that these devices have been part of thwarting a house fire in NKF&R’s response areas.
In this incident it appears that, just before the occupant left the residence, a cardboard box may have been placed atop the stove, activating one of the burners when pushed to the back.