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News / Clark County News

Evergreen Memorial Gardens’ crematorium destroyed in blaze

No one injured in Thursday night fire; east Vancouver funeral home spared

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: January 26, 2024, 9:15pm
5 Photos
Vancouver Fire Department personnel battle a fire at Evergreen Memorial Gardens on Thursday night.
Vancouver Fire Department personnel battle a fire at Evergreen Memorial Gardens on Thursday night. (Vancouver Fire Department) Photo Gallery

A Thursday night fire destroyed the crematorium building at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in east Vancouver. There were no reported injuries.

Vancouver firefighters responded at 8:45 p.m. to the funeral home’s crematorium on fire at 1101 N.E. 112th Ave. They arrived to find flames shooting through the roof, according to a news release.

“Crews were able to quickly get water on the fire,” the fire department said in a statement.

About 10 minutes later, when crews entered the building, the roof started to collapse, so firefighters retreated from the building.

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Firefighters gained control of the blaze from the exterior using elevated streams from the ladder truck, the department said.

Funeral home staff spent Friday working with officials to understand the extent of the damage, according to Evergreen Memorial Gardens President Lindsay Fisher. She said the crematory building was likely a total loss. The blaze was contained to that building and did not damage the main funeral home, she said.

Fisher said Evergreen Memorial Gardens was still open Friday and serving families, with the help of other providers in the area.

“We’re still kind of putting all of the pieces together,” Fisher said. “We have a lot of wonderful support. We’re still able to provide all the same services that we have in the past. We’re just kind of adjusting and pivoting.”

Fisher thanked the first responders for their quick action and support.

“When I arrived on the scene last night, of course I was shocked by all of the lights and all of the vehicles (and) first responders that were there,” she said. “Each and every one was so caring and sensitive to the situation and worked so hard.”

Fisher said it was difficult to watch that piece of her family’s business go up in flames.

“There are a lot of memories tied up in that, with being the third generation … in this profession. … We designed the building and wanted to be able to offer cremation to Clark County families, so it was all kind of part of our plan, and lots of hours of dedication and time were spent being able to put all that together,” Fisher said. “It was devastating to watch that happen.”

But she promised that the family plans to rebuild the crematorium as soon as possible.

“I feel like we’re often caring for so many people in the community and providing for them in a time of need that it’s odd to have that flip around where it’s us,” Fisher said. “I don’t even know where to tell people to begin to help, but knowing that we have so much love and support is so valuable.”

Joe Talbot was at the property Friday morning with his company, Talbot Remodeling, and he described the damage as “pretty bad.” He said he got the call last night and looks forward to rebuilding.

“The family that owns the place are just great people, so it happened to some really great people,” he said. “But it could have been a lot worse. The building, it can be replaced.”

Fire personnel were on scene until after 2 a.m. Friday.

A total of 24 firefighters responded on four engines and two ladder trucks, the department said.

The Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the blaze.