Items too close to a wood stove ignited a shop and guest house in Winlock overnight, while the cause of a Grand Mound residential fire is not yet known. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
A 2-year-old child was taken to the hospital last night after fire broke out in a home in Grand Mound.
Firefighters called about 10:15 p.m. to a mobile home park in the 7100 block of 191st Avenue Southwest found flames coming out two of the windows, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.
“They did a quick knock down but there was still substantial fire, heat and smoke damage to the rest of the (mobile) home,” Fire Chief Robert Scott said.
Crews revived a small dog but the family lost several other pets inside, according to Scott.
The fire’s cause is not yet known, but a cluster of fires in recent days have all been related to heating sources.
Scott said the toddler had slight burns and suffered from smoke inhalation. The child was evaluated by medical personnel and transported by private vehicle to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to WTRFA.
Twenty firefighters from three fire departments battled the blaze and some were on the scene into the early morning hours, according to Scott. He said the family was offered the Red Cross for assistance but for now are staying with a friend in the area.
An investigator was going to be out there today to figure out what caused it, according to Scott.
In Lewis County, an investigator today concluded an overnight fire in Winlock was caused by items too close to a wood stove.
It’s the third time in three days with a similar finding in Lewis County; combustibles too close to a heat source, according to Investigator Derrick Paul.
It’s an important issue for the public to consider, according to Paul.
“Three in three days is too much, as far as I’m concerned,” Paul said. “In these cases it just happened to be wood stoves, but it can happen with baseboard heaters, or space heaters or similar.”
The early morning blaze on Quary Lane north of Winlock did an estimated $110,000 damage.
Firefighters responding about 2 a.m. from Lewis County Fire District 15 and two neighboring districts found a fully furnished guest house and adjoining shop burning, according to Paul.
He said they did a good job extinguishing it in a timely manner but the building and its contents were a complete loss. Also damaged were a travel trailer and a utility trailer parked outside next the approximately 70 foot by 40 foot building, according to Paul.
The owner was working in the shop the evening before, which contained the wood stove, Paul said.
“The cause of the fire was a direct result of combustible items too close to a working wood stove,” Paul indicated this morning.
These fire victims were insured, but the owners of the decimated building he investigated on Friday east of Napavine were not, according to Paul.
The loss to Fire Mountain Farms loss at the 300 block of state Route 508 is estimated at $1.8 million.
The third fire was in Randle, where a little cabin used for storage was destroyed yesterday morning.
It was just a little more than a week ago when the state fire marshal issued a warning to the public, related to home heating sources during the winter and fires around the state.
Four people were killed in two recent residential fires fires caused by portable electric space heaters, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Lysandra Davis.
Given that the cold winer months are the peak time for such incidents, the fire marshall offered safety tips directed at space heater use.
• Ensure the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
• Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
• Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers and clothes at least three feet from the front, sides and rear of the heater.
• Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.
• Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for damage. Follow all operation and maintenance instructions.
• Never leave the heater operating while unattended or while you are sleeping.
• During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is hot. If the plug, outlet or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater, and have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater, and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.
• Lastly, make sure you always have working smoke alarms installed in your home.
To learn more about winter fire safety visit the U.S. Fire Administration website at: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/winter.html