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Weekend marred by fire, accidents

A mobile-home fire in Freeland and a power pole knocked down by a vehicle on Honeymoon Bay Road that disrupted electrical service to 350 customers highlighted the Memorial Day weekend, emergency officials said.

A man in his late 70s was rescued uninjured from his burning mobile home shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, said Fire District 3 Assistant Chief Mike Cotton.

Smoke and flames were visible on the roof of the structure, in a mobile-home park at the end of Freeland Avenue near Freeland Hall, when the fire truck arrived, Cotton said.

Firefighters worked quickly to put out the fire, which damaged about a quarter of the structure. The interior incurred smoke and water damage, but many of the occupant’s possessions were salvaged, Cotton said.

He said the occupant had called the fire department when smoke was seen pouring from a ventilation fan in the bathroom. An electrical malfunction was blamed.

Firefighters were nearby when the call came in. They had responded shortly after 7 a.m. to a report of a vehicle accident on Honeymoon Bay Road near Ships Haven Drive north of Freeland.

Cotton said the driver, a man in his 60s who was alone in the vehicle, collided with a power pole while heading north on Honeymoon Bay Road, knocking the pole into the roadway and disrupting electrical service to 350 Puget Sound Energy customers.

The driver was treated at the scene and released, Cotton said, and the road was closed for a time. The driver’s late-model Buick SUV sustained some front-end damage but appeared drivable, Cotton said.

“I’ve seen animals cause more damage to a vehicle than that pole did,” Cotton said.

McKenzie McDowell, a PSE spokeswoman, said electrical service wasn’t restored until about 2:30 p.m. because crews had to put up a new pole.

Sunday afternoon, Island County Sheriff’s deputies rescued a young woman who had become stranded off Baby Island by the incoming tide, officials said. The sheriff’s department boat had been near the scene when the call came in, Cotton said.

Elsewhere offshore, the weekend was quiet despite the crowds drawn to the island’s beaches by the sunny weather.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported no boating or swimming incidents near South Whidbey during the three days, said Petty Officer

3rd Class Ronald Rivas.

Traffic on South End highways also was uneventful throughout the weekend, the Washington State Patrol reported.

In Oak Harbor, however, a 67-year-old man was killed when his runaway tanker truck pinned him against a coffee stand at a market along Highway 20.

Trooper Norm Larsen said the man, an off-island resident, was fueling the market’s pumps when his truck began to roll, forcing him against the coffee stand. The occupant of the stand escaped injury, Larsen said.

The driver’s name was withheld pending notification of next of kin.

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