A Virgin Mary statue stands, mostly undamaged, among the remnants of a house that burned down Thursday night in Freeland. The cause is being investigated and no one was injured. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

A Virgin Mary statue stands, mostly undamaged, among the remnants of a house that burned down Thursday night in Freeland. The cause is being investigated and no one was injured. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

Cause of Freeland house fire under investigation

Officials from Whidbey fire districts, the sheriff’s office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a home Thursday night in Freeland.

Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue and South Whidbey Fire/EMS responded to a residential fire off Smugglers Cove Road around 6:45 p.m. and arrived to find half the house engulfed in flames, according to Capt. Jerry Helm with Central Whidbey.

No one was around and it hasn’t been determined if someone was living in the house at the time, Helm said. Nearby trees and grass were also on fire, but firefighters managed to stop the flames from spreading into dense woods nearby.

“They did a great job,” said Lt. Mike Hawley of the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

Helm said the crew was able to isolate one side of the house so it didn’t sustain as much damage. Firefighters entered the less-damaged side and conducted a search but didn’t find anyone. It took around two hours to get flames under control, and crews performed overhaul to extinguish the last of the embers until about midnight. A unit returned to the scene and did more overhaul at around 3:30 a.m., Helm said.

“It’s a total loss,” he said.

Around 10 personnel from South Whidbey Fire/EMS joined the approximately 10 Central Whidbey firefighters in the effort.

On Friday morning, a fire investigator from ATF and Hawley came to the property to help with the investigation.

Hawley said it’s being treated as a possible crime scene “just to be careful.”

The homeowner lives in an assisted living facility and it’s believed family members were inhabiting the house at the time, but this hasn’t been confirmed and the family members haven’t been located.

Helm said the investigation will examine burn patterns and depth of charring to locate a point of origin, and then they will look for “anything out of place.”

At least four houses burned in South and Central Whidbey this summer and another home on the North End was badly damaged.

More in News

Parks district considers new Trustland trail

Officials at South Whidbey Parks and Recreation are trying to find a… Continue reading

South Whidbey Elementary School students Weston Dill, right, and Taylor Jones, left, pull ropes aboard the Lady Washington historic “tall ship” in Langley harbor on Thursday. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record
Students set sail to save the Salish Sea

When the first of 200-plus elementary students from the South Whidbey School… Continue reading

One person airlifted after crash in Freeland | Updated

A motorcyclist was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Tuesday afternoon… Continue reading

George Winston to perform at WICA

Whidbey Island Center for the Arts will present self-described “rural folk piano”… Continue reading

Whidbey emergency response team takes flight

Island County is getting its own air force, of sorts. Now in… Continue reading

Dead rabbit revenge | Island Scanner

The following reports were gathered from calls made to the Island County… Continue reading

Suicide prevention month: Groups work to address ‘public health emergency’

Whidbey groups are working to show that deaths by suicide are preventable.… Continue reading

Piper Travis
County settles for $3.1M in woman’s jail-related death

Jail staff neglected a Whidbey Island woman as she became seriously ill, her family alleged.

Island County plan aspires to end homelessness

Local leaders and residents have been discussing the issue of homelessness for… Continue reading

Most Read