KINGSTON – Delayed detection, difficult access and a limited water supply were all compounding factors in a fire that destroyed a waterfront cabin on Friday, March 30th.
Firefighters remained on the scene until 3 a.m. working to extinguish hot spots; investigators remained at the site but, as of yet, the cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.
The first report of the fire came from a neighbor who called 9-1-1 to say that the whole house was on fire. A second caller said that fire was coming from all parts of the house. North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Poulsbo Fire Department and Bainbridge Island Fire Department crews were called to a residential structure fire at the Washington Boulevard home just before 8 p.m.
Washington Boulevard is a single-lane road over the shores of Puget Sound, just north of Kingston. The first crew arrived on scene at 8:09 p.m. and reported that the home was fully involved in fire with flames reaching as high as 80 feet.
The cabin, said to have been built in the 1930s, sat about 50 feet below Washington Boulevard and couldn’t be reached by vehicle; a series of switchbacked stairs and ramps provided the only land access. Firefighters attempted to use NKF&R’s fire-rescue boat to battle the blaze, but they couldn’t get close enough due to the low tide. Crews’ efforts to squelch the flames were further hampered by water supply problems. With no nearby fire hydrants, tender trucks supplied water for the fire fight but these large vehicles had difficulty maneuvering on the narrow roadway.
The owner, who was not at the cabin at the time of the fire, told crews that there were no people or pets inside the structure. According to neighbors, the house does not serve as a full-time residence but is a weekend or vacation home. It is unknown if the owner is insured. Investigators with the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office are working to determine the fire’s cause. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
This is the second fire in less then a month where firefighters have had difficulty getting to a home where the road is narrow and there are no fire hydrants in close proximity to the house. The first fire on Sandy Beach Lane happened on March 4, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue were called to investigate an unknown fire, a 911 caller reported flames from an unknown source on the higher ground above his Apple Tree Point location.
Sandy Beach Lane has over twenty homes and curves along the side of a bluff and is challenging to negotiate. Crews were ferried in by smaller vehicles, and without their engines, firefighters were forced to carry hose by hand up the long access way. There were no fire hydrants in the area. Water for the firefight had to be supplied by large water tendertrucks and pumped up the hill.