A relative has confirmed that Dale Shoemaker, 59, was the victim in a rural house fire late Tuesday at 26908 N.E. 45th Ave. in unincorporated Clark County east of Ridgefield.
Shoemaker’s sister, Becky Wahl of Auburn, said Shoemaker had frontal lobe dementia. She and her husband, Lloyd, had been set to go to court Friday to get guardianship of Shoemaker.
“He was very sick,” Wahl said. “He had been sick for a period of time. Dementia is a pretty horrible disease.”
Wahl also corrected a statement by Shoemaker’s neighbor, John Holtmann, that the victim was born in the 1940 farmhouse. She said Shoemaker moved to the house when he was 8.
In addition to Wahl, Shoemaker is survived by brother Kenneth and mother Wynter Shoemaker-Lovejoy of Yelm, who owns the house.
About 25 firefighters, nine fire engines and three water tenders from Clark County Fire & Rescue and Clark County Fire District 3 responded to the blaze. It took them about an hour to gain control over the fire.
The cause of the blaze is unknown. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the case.
Fire Marshal Richard Martin, who is the lead investigator in the case, said an official cause probably wont be released until Thursday.
The Medical Examiner’s Office didn’t have any information available on Shoemaker on Wednesday afternoon.