Fire Causes Extensive Damage Of Home Undergoing Renovation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fire Causes Extensive Damage Of Home Undergoing Renovation In Pullman

PULLMAN, Wash. - A fire early Sunday morning that started in a three car garage of an unoccupied house in Pullman caused major damage to the home at 770 Pheasant Run Court.

Firefighters were called at 2:38 a.m. by a neighbor who reported fire coming from the single side of the three car garage.  Firefighter Chuck Caessens, the incident commander, said he had just finished transporting a patient to Pullman Regional Hospital when the call was received.

Caessens said from the ambulance window he could see a red glow coming from the house, a few blocks away, and upon arrival at the scene immediately called in a second alarm.

Neighbors told firefighters that the house, previously owned by former Washington State Athletic Director Jim Sterk, sold recently and was undergoing extensive renovation.  With the exception of a few major appliances, there was no furniture in the home.   Hardwood floors in the upstairs living quarters were covered with plastic that may have protected some of them from water and smoke damage.

Fire prevention officer Rich Dragoo said that although the fire was confined to the garage and central heating area, located adjacent to the garage, there was heavy water damage to the basement area and smoke permeated the entire structure. He said some of the water damage was caused by a number of broken water pipes. He said some of the smoke was carried throughout the home by the heating ducts.

After spending most of the day investigating the fire, Dragoo said the point of origin was inside the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) heating chase.

The thermometer was hovering around the freezing mark as firefighters managed to control the stubborn blaze in less than an hour.  They were aided in their effort by crews from Whitman Rural Fire District 12.  The Moscow Fire Department responded with its portable air compressor trailer to help refill the air tanks of the firefighters on the scene because the Pullman air compressor was being repaired.  

Dragoo said that while the home appears to be structurally sound, contractors and the insurance company will determine how much of the house can be salvaged. He said he would have a more accurate damage figure after meeting with those individuals.  He pointed to the kitchen cabinets, located at the greatest distance from the garage, and said that after a fire it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get the smell of smoke from the cabinet wood.  "All of those cabinets probably will need replacing," he said.

Press Release written by Glenn Johnson, PFD

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