Freeland family escapes injury as nearby building burns

Residents of a home in Freeland escaped injury early this morning after a building next to their home went up in flames. - Photo courtesy of Island County Fire District 3
Residents of a home in Freeland escaped injury early this morning after a building next to their home went up in flames.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Island County Fire District 3

A young Freeland family escaped injury when their detached garage and home theater caught fire early Friday morning, fire officials said.

Island County Fire District 3 Chief Rusty Palmer said a passerby pounded on the door of the house 10 feet from the burning building and alerted the couple and their two young children.

"That was a lucky thing," Palmer said Friday. "Especially at 1 o'clock in the morning."

He said the owners of the property tried to fight the blaze with fire extinguishers, then called 911. The passerby who alerted the family left before firefighters arrived.

Palmer said units and about 20 firefighters from throughout the district responded, and remained at the scene for about three hours.

The property is along Dorsey Drive, between East Harbor Road and Stewart Drive. Palmers said the apartment in the upper rear of the garage was fully ablaze when firefighters arrived. He said most of the two-car garage level of the building was saved, but the upper apartment and its contents were a total loss.

The upper portion of the structure had been converted into a home-entertainment center complete with big-screen plasma TV, stereo equipment and furniture, all of which were destroyed, he said.

Palmer said the family told him they hadn't been in the apartment section for at least a week. Value of the loss has yet to be determined, he added.

The nearby main house was charred slightly by the fire, and a window blew out, but it was otherwise undamaged. Other homes in the area also escaped damage, Palmer said.

"Fortunately, there was no wind," he said.

Palmer said it's unclear what caused the fire, and that the investigation continues.

The family spent the remainder of the night at the nearby home of a relative.

Palmer said one firefighter slipped on the ice in the area and skinned his nose, but there were no other injuries.

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