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Clinton house burns to the groundNo one hurt in blaze

"Firefighters from Fire Protection District 3 spray water into the hottest corner of a burning house Thursday night on Longwood Lane. The house apparently caught fire after its owner left a pot on a lighted gas stove.Matt Johnson / staff photoA two-alarm, Clinton-area house fire that burned so hot the smoke was visible from Freeland completely destroyed a home Thursday night and kept firefighters working until 2 a.m.At about 8:45 p.m. Thursday, neighbors of Charles Hornshaw called 911 to report that the man's Longwood Lane home was on fire. According to Fire Protection District 3's Captain Mike Cotton, Hornshaw and his wife had gone for a drive earlier that evening in their brand-new Ford Windstar minivan after putting a pot of food on their gas stove. By the time the couple and fire engines arrived at the scene around 9 p.m., the one-story house was in flames. Working around a fallen power line, firefighters hustled to contain the blaze before it spread to a nearby barn and recreational vehicle. Within about 20 minutes, they had knocked down the tallest flames, which had reached almost 30 feet into the sky. Personnel from fire stations at Bayview, French Road, Clinton, Freeland, Langley, and Bush Point sprayed water and fire-retardent foam on the structure from three directions for more than an hour before the fire lulled into a lazy smoulder.Capt. Cotton said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. He said preliminary look the following morning leads him to suspect that the fire started in the kitchen, where Hornshaw told him he had left the stove burning. He said the house was a total loss and gave a damage estimate of $100,000. The home was insured.Cotton said the Hornshaws are staying with relatives. No one was hurt during the blaze.The fire was the fifth on Whidbey Island during the past two weeks. According to the Island County Sheriff's Office, three yet-unexplained residential fires that occurred on Central and North Whidbey last week are still under investigation. A week prior to Thursday night's fire, a Scatchet Head Road woman barely escaped a fire in her mobile home. The cause of that fire has been attributed to faulty wiring. "

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