A fast-moving fire destroyed an unoccupied house and burned two cars in a Vancouver neighborhood just north of state Highway 500 this morning.
The fire at 4201 N.E. 59th Ave. was first reported as an outbuilding fire, said Capt. Bill Garlington of the Vancouver Fire Department. By the time crews arrived, it was clear the house itself was involved, he said.
The initial call came in at about 9:30 a.m. By 10 a.m., much of the building had been reduced to a charred skeleton as firefighters continued cleaning up.
“Right now, it’s pretty much just sticks,” Garlington said.
Property records show the owners are Sergey and Vasiliy Yarosh. Garlington said no one lived in the structure, and that the owners lived in another home on the same property. That home was not damaged; it did not appear that anyone was displaced by the fire, he said. No one was injured.
When it became apparent that no one was inside the burning structure, firefighters took a defensive stand around the 2,860-square-foot building to keep the fire from spreading further.
Crews also battled below-freezing temperatures. That didn’t significantly affect the response, though firefighters did have trouble with a frozen cap on a nearby fire hydrant, Garlington said.
The fire burned through power lines, causing wires to be downed. Clark Public Utilities was called to shut down power to make the area safer.
At least two cars appeared to be in the fire’s path, including one near the house that was destroyed. As fire crews mopped up the scene, a handful of neighbors lingered in the street.
Matt Roberts, who lives nearby, said he saw the fire on his way home.
“There was huge flames coming out of there,” he said, watching smoke rise from the burned-out building. “I just pray to God that the family is all right.”
An exact cause of the fire was not immediately determined.
Unusually cold temperatures are expected to continue into this weekend. That can increase the risk of fires, particularly as people use space heaters to keep warm, Garlington said.
“They’re going to be putting those heaters closer to things that can catch on fire than they normally would,” Garlington said. Candles are also a common danger during the holiday season, he added.