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Ledgewood landslide house burns in late night blaze

A firefighter from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue douses a hotspot in the wreckage of a home that burned to the ground Sunday night.  - Nathan Whalen / The Record
A firefighter from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue douses a hotspot in the wreckage of a home that burned to the ground Sunday night.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / The Record

A Driftwood Way home abandoned since a massive landslide made national headlines in 2013 burned to the ground Sunday night.

The house, a double-wide manufactured home, was red-tagged by Island County following the disaster in Ledgewood last March as unsafe to enter or live. The house had slid toward the shoreline during the landslide and part of it teetered over the edge of a mound.

The landslide destroyed a section of Driftwood Way and left firefighters Sunday with several challenges to overcome before they could extinguish the blaze.

With a portion of the road gone, the only access to the neighborhood is provided by a small, one-lane-wide road. The road’s narrow width and a hairpin turn made it impossible for large fire engines to maneuver down to the neighborhood. Rather, three smaller brush apparatus responded to the Sunday evening fire, said Chad Michael, deputy chief of Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue.

The fire was reported by Ralph Young, who lives in a house atop of the bluff overlooking the manufactured home. He was just getting ready for bed after celebrating the Seahawks victory when he spotted the fire.

“It was quite an inferno,” Young said when he reported the blaze. 

Michael said the fire had engulfed the home by the time firefighters arrived on Driftwood Way, about 10 minutes after getting the call.

Firefighters accessed the fire from a neighboring house. They had to string fire hose approximately 500 feet down a ravine created by last year’s landslide and up a mound where the abandoned house was resting.

A brush apparatus holds 250 gallons of water. While one was used to fight the blaze, the other two were used to ferry water to the site, Michael said.

In all, 20 firefighters from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Naval Air Station Whidbey and South Whidbey Fire/EMS assisted in dousing the blaze.

The fire was extinguished around 1:50 a.m. Monday morning and a small number of firefighters remained on scene throughout the day extinguishing flare-ups.

Michael said a fire investigator combed through the wreckage Tuesday after The Record’s press deadline to determine a cause of the blaze.

 

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