Thursday, January 13, 2011

More on Fire at Student Rental on Grant St.

The two WWU renters (from the Grant St. rental that was destroyed by fire) to whom I spoke indicated that they had brought the problem of smoke detectors to the attention of the management company a month or so ago. They also said that there had been problems with tripped circuit breakers over time and that some wall plugs were the old two prong receptacles and not the grounded, three prong kind.

Last night, the Zonemaven attended a York Neighborhood meeting where Bellingham Fire Marshal, Jason Napier, explained that the origin of the fire was a junction box in the attic above the bathroom on the second floor. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The four renters narrowly escaped death. Had not one of the renters awakened to get a snack, nobody would have discovered the fire. Since there were no working smoke alarms, they would likely have succumbed to the gases emanating from the blaze.

Also placed in danger were neighboring homes. The York Neighborhood consists of many homes on small lots. Given the proximity of one home to another, the chances for a house fire to spread to adjacent structures is likely.

A search of the property records at the Whatcom County Assessor's office reveals that the rental house is owned by David Hansen. The two renters to whom the Zonemaven spoke indicated that the property is managed by Lakeway Realty and that the company has relocated the four renters to another rental house.

The students' belongings had sustained some water and smoke damage although the fire seemed to be limited to the second floor and attic. The burned out carcass of a mattress on the front lawn provided mute testimony to the events earlier that night.

You can watch a video of the fire taken by a bystander by clicking here.

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