A two-alarm fire destroyed a shop in Battle Ground on Wednesday afternoon, but firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before they spread to a nearby home, where a man had gone inside to retrieve his belongings.
The fire, reported at 12:40 p.m., was in the Meadow Glade neighborhood just west of state Highway 503. The incident affected traffic as fire engines parked on the highway to access hydrants.
When the first fire company with Clark County Fire & Rescue arrived to the property, 12112 N.E. 191st St., they found flames coming out of a 60-by-30-foot shop made of wood and metal. A plume of thick, black smoke from the fire could be seen from miles around, indicating that gasoline and oils were burning, said Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy.
Capt. Ben Meacham ran around the back of the shop and spotted a man inside the nearby house, east of the shop. Meacham went in the smoke-filled house and brought the man outside.
A short while later, Meacham saw the man back inside the house on the second story.
This time, Clark County sheriff’s deputies Kateri Harrison and Anthony Spainhower helped Meacham get the man outside. He had apparently wanted to retrieve belongings before the house caught on fire.
With all the smoke and heat, the man wouldn’t have lasted much longer inside the house, said Meacham, who called for a second-alarm. Fire District 3 and the Vancouver Fire Department helped prevent the blaze from spreading to the house and surrounding structures.
While firefighters were able to extinguish the shop fire before it spread into the house, it did destroy greenhouses to the west of the shop. Although there was smoke damage throughout the residence and the side facing the shop was scorched, the inside of the house remained intact, Meacham said.
“Luckily, we were able to stop it there,” he said.
The homeowner was reportedly using the fireplace in the shop when the fire sparked, Meacham said. The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.
Downed power lines complicated suppression efforts, Dawdy said. Clark Public Utilities shut down power to the house and a couple of neighboring houses.
The Washington State Patrol and Clark County sheriff’s deputies helped direct motorists as crews fought the flames. The right southbound lane of state Highway 503 was closed until about 3:50 p.m.
The Red Cross provided lodging, a comfort kit and other disaster services to the homeowner, who was the only person affected by the fire.
The property is owned by Dennis Pulley, according to county property records.