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Woman, dog die in house fire

Bainbridge Island firefighters investigate do determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a home on Washington Avenue NE. - Richard D. Oxley
Bainbridge Island firefighters investigate do determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a home on Washington Avenue NE.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley

Investigators are unable to determine the exact cause of a fire that occurred Saturday morning, resulting in the death of a woman and her dog in their Port Madison area home.

The Kitsap County Coroner's Office determined that smoke inhalation caused the death of 67-year-old Shirley Dillenburg, who was discovered inside her home on Washington Avenue.

"We've had a number of major fires, but this is the only fatality in nearly two decades," said Fire Chief Hank Teran.

While the exact cause of the fire is unclear — due mainly to the severity of damage to the home — investigators were able to conclude that the fire began in the living room and spread so quickly through the home that Dillenburg was unable to flee the smoke in time.

Investigators also cited that they were unable to locate any signs of smoke alarms within the home.

Flowers had begun to collect a few days after the fire, forming a memorial in front of the home as investigators clear the singed remains.

According to Bainbridge Island Fire Marshal Luke Carpenter, neighbors were awakened by their dog early Saturday morning and called 911 at 3:07 a.m., at which time they could see large flames coming out from the living room window of the 850-square-foot home.

The home was entirely engulfed in flames by the time the fire department arrived from the Madison Avenue Fire Station. It took around 10 minutes to bring down the fire to a point safe enough for firefighters to enter, and another 30 minutes to fully extinguish the fire Teran said.

The resulting damage has been estimated at $50,000.

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