SUQUAMISH — A residential fire at a home on Columbia Street in Suquamish Tuesday evening on June 5 severely damaged the structure’s lower level and caused extensive smoke damage to its upper level, according to officials from North Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Bainbridge Island Fire Department and Poulsbo Fire Department.
The first crew on the scene was NKFR’s Suquamish fire department, which arrived five minutes after 911 calls reported the blaze. The crew reported heavy smoke and flames pouring from the building’s lower story windows and spreading to the upper story.
With no fire hydrants nearby, the first responders drew from the 750 gallons of water aboard their engine to knock down the flames. Water tenders — trucks carrying thousands of gallons of water to fires in areas not served by hydrants — provided as much as 5,000 additional gallons of water to fully douse all hot spots.
A total of 21 responders from the three fire agencies arrived at the scene, assisted by officers from Suquamish Police Department and an investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Two women were in the lower level apartment unit at the time of the fire. One was napping while the other was taking a shower, according to a fire department report. The second woman, a guest of the first woman, told the investigator that she came out of the shower to find signs of a fire. She fled the building but returned several times in an effort to make sure the first woman safely escaped.
The second woman was found outside with signs of smoke inhalation and taken by paramedics for treatment at a hospital. The first woman told medics she was uninjured and declined treatment or transport. The occupants of the two apartments on the upper story were apparently not home at the time of the fire.
Fire investigators said the lower story living room suffered the most severe fire damage. Despite flames in the adjacent room, lower-story spaces with closed doors were somewhat protected, they noted.
The upper story apartments were impacted by smoke as well as by the firefighters’ efforts to chase down hot spots. The fire reportedly entered the building’s eaves and voids under the roof before it was fully extinguished.
The building and the tenants’ contents are not insured, officials reported.
The Suquamish Tribe is providing temporary lodging for at least two of the displaced occupants. The Red Cross said it will provide additional assistance if the occupants request help. The Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s office said it is continuing its investigation of the fire.