The cause of a raging fire at 505 N.W. 86th St. has been ruled undetermined, and will stay that way because any evidence that would reveal the cause was destroyed, Ken Hill, a Clark County deputy fire marshal, said Tuesday.
Officials said the Monday afternoon fire started in an upstairs bedroom. Hill said the fire in Hazel Dell was definitely accidental.
Damage has been estimated at $250,000 to the building and $75,000 to its contents, for a total of $325,000.
No people or pets were reported injured.
The fire was reported about 5 p.m. Monday and crews arrived to find flames roaring out of two large upstairs windows. Besides attacking the flames, at first from outside and later inside, firefighters kept a hose line spraying a house next door, only 12 to 20 feet from the flames consuming the burning home. As a result, little or no damage was reported to the neighbors’ home.
A battalion chief soon called for a second alarm, bringing Vancouver engines and crews to the scene.
The owner of the home, Elmer Brown, 64, said he was sitting on a couch watching TV when he heard a smoke detector and alerted his wife, Ardis, and two grandchildren, 8 and 9. Ardis Brown had been using a computer; one grandchild was taking a shower and the other was playing a video game in the dining room.
“We all got out as we called 911,” he said. The fire was reported around 5 p.m. and about 40 firefighters from Fire District 6 and Vancouver Fire Department rushed to the scene. The house is near Jason Lee Middle School.
“A lot of clutter inside the home fueled the fire and made fighting and investigating it difficult,” said Dawn Johnson, a spokeswoman for Fire District 6.
She added, “Fire District 6 encourages you to consider your clutter placement and get rid of stuff you really don’t use or plan on using to make your home safer for your family. Take a few minutes to walk around your home and ask yourself if you would be able to get out easily in the event of an emergency. Ask yourself also, if a rescuer would be able to find and reach you through the blinding conditions of a significant fire.”
Elmer Brown said he has fire insurance.
Seven fire engines and a rescue truck worked on the fire, said Larry Reese, a battalion chief and the incident commander with Fire District 6. He said he believed the house was ruined.
Firefighters continued to douse hot spots and to clean up for hours.
At the scene Monday night, Red Cross officials offered to help the family with lodging and other needs.