A failing chimney appears to have caused a blaze that destroyed a home on Charles Street in Monroe last week.
Wednesday, March 13, firefighters responded to a call at 4:11 a.m. and arrived to find smoke and flames coming from the roof of the home. The house was unoccupied, and the fire was reported by neighbors.
In all, 33 firefighters arrived from Monroe, Gold Bar, Sultan, Duvall, Clearview and Woodinville.
“There were other factors involved in the ignition of the fire,” said Monroe Fire Marshall Michael Fitzgerald. “The occupants had been burning wood which burns hotter than typical firewood, and the chimney was passing through and attic space with combustible construction right next to the chimney.”
Damage is estimated at $23,000.
It could have been a lot worse, said Fitzgerald.
“Had this house been occupied, there would likely have been a death because there was no alert system to awaken residents to smoke or poisonous gas,” he said.
There were no working smoke detectors or sprinklers in the house.
It is a good time to remind the community to check and replace batteries in smoke detectors, said Fitzgerald.
Two days earlier, on Monday, March 11, at about 4:38 p.m., firefighters got a call about a house fire on Forest View Avenue S.E. in Monroe. When firefighters arrived they found visible flames erupting from the garage of the home, where it is believed the fire started.
They could also hear small explosions from paint cans and ammunition stored there.
Additional firefighters came from Duvall, Clearview, Sultan, Gold Bar and Snohomish, and houses on either side were evacuated.
No one was harmed in the fire. A boy, 9, had been home alone at the time, watching TV while his mother stepped out to pick up a sibling. The boy smelled the smoke, saw the fire and left the house.
Firefighters took about 40 minutes to extinguish the blaze. The house appears to have been a total loss. The family of four that lived there has been displaced, and are staying with relatives. The cause of the fire was not known as of last Wednesday.