Blaze destroys south-end home - UPDATE

Fire and police officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze that destroyed a three-story south-island home Saturday morning.

Owner James Wallace was in Port Angeles, where he works as a doctor, when neighbors reported his house at 4165 Mattson Place near Pleasant Beach Drive was engulfed in flames at 6:30 a.m.

One neighbor said the fire started small, possibly on a porch, but within an hour had spread throughout the house.

Fire crews arrived to find flames enveloping the home’s living areas and only the garage still intact, Bainbridge Island Fire Department Chief Hank Teran said.

The 25 responding firefighters concentrated on containing the fire and protecting neighboring homes, dousing the property and surrounding trees with roughly 70,000 gallons of water.

Two water tender trucks from the North Kitsap and Poulsbo fire stations helped run hoses from hydrants on Pleasant Beach Drive and Beck Road up the steep lane to the house.

The blaze was extinguished by 8:15 a.m. but the home was a total loss. Fire Marshall Jared Moravec said the value of the damaged property is expected to exceed $1 million.

The cause of the fire had not been determined Tuesday morning. Investigators were still digging through the charred remains of the house Monday, where only a portion of the garage and a stone fireplace were standing.

The trees screening the house from neighboring homes were singed in places but largely untouched.

Moravec said the relatively wet summer had played a part in keeping the flames from spreading.

“Had this been after a real dry summer or a really dry winter, that could have changed the complexion of the incident,” Moravec said.

Moravec said he expects preliminary findings from the investigation by the end of the week.

Wallace was back at work this week. He expects his insurance company will provide him with a temporary home, but he appreciated the offers of help from islanders.

“There’s been really nice outpouring of support,” he said.

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