FORKS — A mother, her daughter and their three pets escaped injury Wednesday afternoon when a fire of unknown origin severely damaged a home in the 800 block of Mayberry Street.
Firecrackers exploded during the blaze, making Forks-area Fire District 1 Chief Bill Paul first suspect that ammunition was going off.
“I didn’t know if it was ammo or what,” Paul said Thursday.
“It happens all the time. In a lot of [fires], there’s always some type of ammo going off.
“We didn’t know it was fireworks until a couple of hours later.”
Homeowner Charlene Weston later said that M-80s and bottle rockets were among the fireworks, Paul said.
“There were a lot,” he said.
The fire remained under investigation Thursday morning.
The cause was not a wood stove or space heater, Paul said.
Paul said Weston has fire insurance on the three-bedroom wooden structure, valued at $132,000.
Weston and her teenage daughter stayed Wednesday night with family members who live nearby.
The fire was reported at 4:31 p.m. Wednesday.
When Paul arrived, flames were shooting out of the bedroom on the north side of the residence.
The bedroom was destroyed, while 75 percent of the 1,424-square-foot structure had extensive heat and smoke damage, Paul said.
“There were sentimental things that were salvageable,” he said.
Once the fireworks started exploding, firefighters entered from the south side of the building, going from an offensive attack on the blaze to a defensive attack, Paul said.
The family’s two cats were unharmed.
So was a pet iguana, which a firefighter plucked from its cage while the house was smoldering.
The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes, by 4:50 p.m.
Three District 1 pumpers and fire engines responded, along with two Fire District 6 emergency personnel.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].