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Fire levels Classic Road home

Fire District 5 firefighters climb the side of a two-story home on Classic Road in Greenbank Wednesday morning to try to douse a fire. The David and Julie Jansen residence was unoccupied at the time and was a total loss. - Gayle Saran
Fire District 5 firefighters climb the side of a two-story home on Classic Road in Greenbank Wednesday morning to try to douse a fire. The David and Julie Jansen residence was unoccupied at the time and was a total loss.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

It will be a difficult Christmas season for the Jansen family.

They lost their home and all their belongings Wednesday morning when a fire burned the Classic Road home they were renting in Greenbank.

Julie and David Jansen watched the home burn as firefighters from Fire District 5 tried to stop it. Fortunately no one was home when the fire started, because all of the house was involved.

The couple had gone to work and their two sons, Anthony, 10, and Brandon, 4, were in school when the blaze started at about 8:30 a.m. Called home from work by a neighbor, the couple arrived in time to see flames shooting through the cedar shake roof of the two-story wood frame house. Both watched in silence in a cold rain as white smoke almost obscured the structure.

Julie Jansen finally went inside her neighbor's home where she could see firefighters pouring water and foam through the windows to douse the stubborn flames. Her father, Tom Rehberg of Greenbank, watched with her.

"This is going to be hard on them for awhile," Rehberg said. "They lost almost everything, all their furniture and all the boys' clothes and toys."

Rehberg and his wife, Margie, live a short distance away.

Neighbors first noticed the fire. Rhonda Curtis, who lives next door, said she was alerted by her dog.

"My dog started barking and almost at the same time I heard a crackling sound and ran outside in time to see the flames," Curtis said.

Curtis called 911 and Island County Fire District 5 volunteers arrived within a few minutes of the call. It took an hour for them to extinguish the flames.

After the fire, the Jansens poked around what was left of their belongings. Little survived the blaze, except a few photos in albums in a living room bookcase.

"The albums were packed in so tightly together, some of the boys' baby photos are undamaged," Rehberg said.

Lacking renter's insurance, the cost of replacing their belongings will come out of the Jansens' pockets. The family had been renting the house for a year.

Rehberg says the family will stay with him and his wife for a while.

"We'll put the boys in sleeping bags and Julie and Dave will stay in our extra bedroom," he said. "At least they will be warm and have plenty of food."

Julie Jansen is employed at Island Disposal and her husband works at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland.

Cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but is under investigation by Island County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone wishing to donate to a fund for the Jansen family can do so at any branch of Whidbey Island Bank. Donations of clothing, furniture and household items may be dropped off at the Tom and Margie Rehberg home at 980 Rehberg Road in Greenbank.

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