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.

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 — 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 — 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.

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

Whidbey Children’s Theatre continues online classes

Registration is now open for a class full of theater games, and an improv class for kids.

Interim health officer named

Dr. Howard Leibrand is the third health officer in Island County in a month.

Photo by Emily Gilbert
Chessie and Calamity of Missoula, Montana touched the ocean for the first time at Fort Ebey State Park, according to owner Bill Hoff. The park is one of 28 state parks the Navy has identified as a training site in its new proposal.
Coupeville Town Council opposes Navy plan for SEAL training in state parks

The Navy has proposed to use 28 state parks for training purposes. A vote is expected Thursday.

Oak Harbor schools plan to reopen despite fears raised

Oak Harbor school leaders presented plans for bringing grades 7-12 back into class.

‘Blood-curdling screaming’ | Island Scanner

Island Scanner Dec. 25 - Jan. 1.

Sno-Isle Libraries on Whidbey Island have laptops and hotspot devices available to check out just like a book. Photo provided.
Laptop, wifi hotspot devices available at Whidbey libraries

Patrons can now check out technology just like a library book.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

Training in Coupeville schools puts suicide prevention in the Forefront

Parents and caregivers can sign up for upcoming classes for training to help prevent suicide.

South Whidbey Parks and Rec OKs trail relocation

Commissioners agreed to relocate a path that is part of the Community Park network of trails.

Most Read