Justin Burnett/The Record — South Whidbey Fire/EMS firefighters work to extinguish a house fire on Honeymoon Bay Road on Wednesday evening. The fire was deemed “suspicious” in nature.

‘Suspicious’ fire destroys Honeymoon Bay home

Justin Burnett/The Record — South Whidbey Fire/EMS firefighters work to extinguish a house fire on Honeymoon Bay Road on Wednesday evening. The fire was deemed “suspicious” in nature.

An abandoned home in Freeland was destroyed Wednesday by a fire that officials have deemed “suspicious.”

The blaze was reported shortly after 8 p.m. by a police officer. He was in the area at the time and saw a column of smoke, according to Jon Beck, deputy chief of South Whidbey Fire/EMS. The Island County Sheriff’s Office deputy investigated and found the home on fire; he reportedly attempted to extinguish some of the flames with a fire extinguisher but made little headway.

“It was well involved when we got there,” Beck said.

Neighbors Mark Tucker and Amiee Brookhart live in the home next door. As firefighters worked to put out the main blaze, they were busy soaking their fence and lawn with garden hoses.

Both were nervous the fire would get out of control and ignite their house as well.

“Yeah, it was scary,” said Brookhart, when asked by a Record reporter.

The single story structure had been been vacant for years and was overgrown with blackberry bushes and shrubs. Its exterior was also covered in cedar shingles. Tucker described it as a “tinder box.”

“It’s like the worst case scenario,” he said.

Tucker was home when he noticed the smoke. He walked over and met the arriving police officer. He said flames were inside the building and under the porch.

Having long been abandoned, the home’s windows and entrances were boarded up. Beck, however, said the officer reported finding some of them torn down when he arrived. Power to the building had long since been turned off.

“It’s suspicious in nature, and we’ve turned the investigation over to the Island County Sheriff’s Office,” Beck said.

About half a dozen fire engines responded to the fire and just as many support vehicles. Honeymoon Bay Road was also closed in both directions. All the commotion attracted the attention of lots of neighbors, including Bob and Helen Welch. They’ve lived across the street for more than a decade and have never known the home to be occupied by “squatters.”

Other neighbors said the house was one of two Whidbey homes that were featured in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and then later transported to the island. Beck said he couldn’t confirm that was the case but said the house certainly didn’t fit with the rest of area’s homes.

“I think it’s been there for a long time; it doesn’t fit architecturally with anything else that’s there,” Beck said. “I think it was there before the golf course.”

The Island County Assessor’s Office’s website, which lists property details for all Island County homes, couldn’t confirm the building’s history, but it did say the structure’s assessed value in 2016 was about $21,000. Beck said the building was a total loss.

Justin Burnett/The Record — Amiee Brookhart hoses down her fence while firefighters work to extinguish a house fire next door.

Justin Burnett/The Record — A South Whidbey Fire/EMS firefighter turns on a fire hydrant on Honeymoon Bay Road.

Justin Burnett/The Record — Two South Whidbey Fire/EMS firefighters wait in reserve at a house fire on Honeymoon Bay Road on Wednesday evening.

More in News

Glaiza Price, who owns and operates Cosmic Ice Cream with her husband Patrick, peeks out the van’s window. The space-themed van has started popping up at events this year to serve 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
‘Out of this world’ ice cream rolls onto island

An encounter with an ice cream van in New York, a conversation… Continue reading

County finishing Freeland zone code

Staff from Island County Planning and Community Development will hold a community… Continue reading

Left to right: Eva Wirth, Emma Callahan, Chloe Goethel, Macie Vande Werfhorst, Naomi Atwood, Gabe Gandarias, Maddox Smith-Heacox & Max Rodriguez. Not pictured: Emmett Layman, Zander Kuschnerei and coach Clyde Monma.
SW Middle School Math Teams Capture 5 Medals

South Whidbey Middle School entered five teams in the Washington State Math… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth nurses trained to assess victims of sexual assault are left to right: Jackie Blankenship, Rebecca Pina, program manager Jackie Bassett, Jacqueline Moore and Sherry Phay. Cynde Robinson, director of Coalition against Domestic Violence, is in the back row. Team member nurses Krista Burckhardt, Gayle Wallen and Tonya DeYoung were unavailable for the photo.
Sexual assault victims can be assessed locally

WhidbeyHealth trains specialty nurse team

Aurora Coffey
South Whidbey High School student wins AAUW prize

South Whidbey High School student, Aurora Coffey, won First Place and a… Continue reading

Town talk pinpoints people and paths

Langley takes step in mapping trails

Langley Police Chief David Marks
Prosecutor declines to charge chief

The Island County prosecutor declined to charge Langley Police Chief David Marks… Continue reading

Island County looks at building air park road

Island County will apply for a grant to study the potential of… Continue reading

Photo provided 
                                Left to right: Grace Callahan, Carli Newman, Oliana Stang, Sean Miles, Magnus Nyberg, Max Rodriguez, Aidan O’Brien, Annika Hustad (Not pictured: Coach Clyde Monma)
SW High School math teams place 1st in state

Three South Whidbey High School math teams earned a trip to the… Continue reading

Most Read