By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
GLENOMA – Investigators didn’t find any particular surprises as they examined the scene of a house fire with three deaths in Glenoma yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.
Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said the home on the 100 block of Frost Creek Road was occupied by a husband, his wife and adult son. Three adult bodies were removed by the coroner’s office and autopsies will be conducted, he said.
The small house built in 1940 sits on a moderate-sized parcel just north of U.S. Highway 12 with neighboring homes close by. The community of Glenoma is just seven miles east of Morton, both of which are surrounded by the foot hills of the Cascade Mountains.
Dan Powell who lives across the street said he was awakened by one of his neighbors beating on his door, saying he couldn’t get through to 911.
Powell put on his pants, grabbed his 25-pound fire extinguisher and headed over. Another neighbor from up the road, a volunteer firefighter, was already on the scene, he said.
“He told me he went around and tried to rouse someone from the windows, but he didn’t get any response,” Powell said.
Already they could see flames from the kitchen and living room area, as well as a window on the opposite side of the house.
“Like I said, we couldn’t get close to it,” Powell said.
There were multiple 911 calls that came in around 3:23 a.m. yesterday. Four fire departments responded to put out the blaze.
The house is still standing, but Breen late yesterday afternoon pointed to area to the right of the front door, where the kitchen’s wall would have been, next to the garage-carport area. Pieces of metal roofing hung in front of the carport.
Where specifically the fire seems to have originated, they aren’t yet saying, Breen said.
“They do not have a definite conclusion yet,” Breen said as detectives and a fire investigator prepared to clear the scene.
Their task yesterday was to conduct two investigations, one for what caused the fire and another for what caused the deaths, Breen said.
He said they spoke to family asking questions about the electrical and what the residents used for heating, he said.
“They had propane at one time, but that’s shut off,” Breen said. “It sounds like they had electric heaters.”
Investigators didn’t find any smoke detectors, he said.
The victims were found in different areas of the home, Breen said, a bedroom, the hallway and the living room.
Powell and his fiancee, Judy Nelson said the elderly couple had lived there more than a decade. Neither one of them drove, he said.
It wasn’t too long ago the son came to live with them, Powell said. And they lost their daughter about a year ago, he said.
“He was very helpful with his parents, like he built a ramp for them,” Nelson said.
Powell knows fires well, as he is the chief for Lewis County Fire District 4, which protects the area surrounding Morton.
He’s been with his department 45 years and during that time, they’ve never had a fatal fire, he said.
“I just hope they went to sleep and slept right through it,” Powell said.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Nelson said.
Once identification and next of kin notification are made, the victim’s identities will be released by the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.
For background, read, “Three dead in Glenoma residential structure fire” from Thursday February 9, 2017, here