Christmas fire destroys home

Firefighters said the blaze in the 5,000-square-foot home (above) was difficult to put out, because of its location at the end of narrow roads. - Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island Fire Department
Firefighters said the blaze in the 5,000-square-foot home (above) was difficult to put out, because of its location at the end of narrow roads.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island Fire Department

A generator may be the cause as a north end couple is displaced.

A north end home was destroyed by fire Christmas night in one of the biggest blazes to strike the island in years.

Paul and Laurel Moldon, residents of the 5,000-square-foot home in the 7000 block of North Street at Agate Point, escaped with their two dogs without injury.

“The first floor was totally destroyed,” said Bainbridge Island Fire’s Operations Chief Luke Carpenter. “The walls are still up, but the roof is gone.”

Fire­fighters were dispatched to the two-floor waterfront home just after 5:40 p.m. on Sunday.

Much of the blaze was extinguished eight hours later, with many firefighters returning home at 2 a.m.

A four-person crew conducted a fire watch throughout the night and extinguished a few smoldering areas on Monday morning.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Carpenter said it appears to have been caused by a propane generator the residents of the North Street home may have used during weekend power outages.

High winds Sunday morning downed trees and lines, knocking out power to an estimated 8,100 homes in Kitsap County.

“Like much of the rest of the island, they had their power out on the 25th,” Carpenter said.

The home’s distance from an available water supply and a maze of narrow, winding roads added to the difficulty of extinguishing the blaze, Carpenter said.

“It went from a one-alarm to a two-alarm fire, which is very rare here,” he said.

With no fire hydrants nearby, firefighters had to truck in water on the department’s tenders, as well as a few water rigs from the North Kitsap and Poulsbo fire departments. Firefighters sprayed about 40,000 gallons of water on the house.

The tenders had to navigate a circuitous route to access the home and repeatedly refilled at hydrants outside the Clearwater Casino in Suquamish.

Bill Morris, who lives on Agate Passage in Suquamish, noticed smoke rising from Agate Point shortly before he heard sirens in the area. He watched the glow and an occasional flame leap from behind a stand of trees until about 12:30 a.m. Monday morning.

“My nephew first saw the smoke from the hill and we saw flames shortly thereafter,” he said Tuesday. “We could see a lot of cinders going up in the sky and an occasional flame shooting up between the trees,”

Carpenter said the department has not fought such a difficult fire since the old Strawberry Pier at the end of Weaver Road burned down eight years ago.

The Moldons were put up at a local inn and could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Fire investigators are expected to meet soon with the homeowners’ insurance company to assess damage to the house and the property inside.

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