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Second Bainbridge Island waterfront home destroyed by fire

Firefighters take control of the blaze that destroyed a waterfront home at Rolling Bay Thursday morning. - Richard D. Oxley
Firefighters take control of the blaze that destroyed a waterfront home at Rolling Bay Thursday morning.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley

Bainbridge Island firefighters took down a blaze at a home in Rolling Bay Thursday. It was the second fire to destroy a waterfront home in one week.

The latest blaze was at 10820 Rolling Bay Walk.

Fire Chief Hank Teran said the fire was “suspicious in nature” in that the house was one of a number of abandoned homes on the Rolling Bay Walk waterfront and therefore had no occupants. It was not served by utilities, including power.

The homes had been abandoned due to the risk of mudslides from the hillside above them.

An investigation into the fire to determine its cause remains underway.

Firefighters responded to the call at 10:15 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m. had brought it under control. Though some “hotspots” in the home remained and firefighters continued to extinguish the fire afterward, Teran said.

Approximately 30 firefighters were on scene to combat the fire, including members from the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, the Poulsbo Fire Department, and the North Kitsap Fire and Rescue.

The Seattle fire boat Leschi as well as Bainbridge Island’s own fire boat Marine 21 also responded and provided support from the shoreline.

The home was directly on the shoreline with a view of the Seattle skyline.

On Sunday, another island waterfront home on Country Club Road at Restoration Point was also destroyed by fire. An old chimney was found to be the source of the fire.

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department responded to that blaze at 6:14 a.m. When firefighters arrived at the two-story house, it was already engulfed in flames and heavy smoke. By the time the fire was under control at 8:30 a.m. the house was completely destroyed.

Estimated value of the structure and the items lost within the blaze are $1.78 million.

“It looks like a fire started in a 100-year old fireplace,” said Fire Marshal Luke Carpenter. “It got through the brick and the mortar and started a fire in combustible surfaces of the house.”

According to a BIFD press release, the fireplace failed to prevent heat from reaching the original portion of the house. This caused wood that was in direct contact with the back of the fireplace to ignite.

There were five people staying in the home over the weekend. Two were sleeping in the home while three stayed in the guest house next door. All were able to evacuate the home safely, although one occupant was taken to Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle for smoke inhalation.

A firefighter was also sent to Harborview and was treated for first- and second-degree burns caused by radiant heat from the fire through his protective gear. He was released that same day.

Carpenter estimated that the home was at least 100 years old and approximately 4,000 square feet. It overlooked Puget Sound facing Mount Rainier. The property contained two buildings including the main house where the fire began.

There was also a separate guest house that received damage caused by the radiant heat of the house fire, but firefighters were able to save it from further damage.

As with the Rolling Bay fire, BIFD received assistance from the Poulsbo Fire Department as well as the North Kitsap Fire and Rescue.

The Seattle fireboat Leschi was sent to assist from the shore.

However, the structure  was too far from the shoreline to receive assistance from the fireboat’s apparatus.

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