Fire destroys auto dealership owner’s home

The East County home of auto dealer Stormy Glick burned to the ground Thursday night after a fire erupted at the rural location while no one was home and firefighters could not save the structure.

The East Satsop Road home is on a 240-acre spread that includes an animal farm with beef cattle and Glick’s collection of exotic animals.

Reached Friday morning while on vacation with his wife Shirley, Glick said the animals were not harmed by the fire, which he was told consumed the entire living area and all its contents in the home.

Glick was hoping to find a flight back later today or Saturday to return to survey the damage.

“Basically, they said it burnt to the ground,” he said. “We’ve lived there a long time and it’s our home.”

The cause and the source of the fire is under investigation. The response of about 35 firefighters with 10 vehicles included several Grays Harbor fire districts and assistance from the Elma and McCleary fire departments, but the house was fully engulfed by the time the units arrived on the scene. Its assessed value is more than $500,000.

Chief Dan Prater of Grays Harbor Fire District 5 said he just sat down for dinner after 6 p.m. when he was called out on the fire. The roof of the large single-story structure had collapsed by the time firefighters started their efforts.

“I heard one of the water tenders say he made 17 trips to fill up one of the big water tenders, and that was one of four on scene,” Prater said to illustrate the severity of the blaze. “It was a lot of work to get in there and put it out, and there was no way we could gain entry into the building because of the fire load.”

Glick is best known as the owner of Whitney’s Auto Group, which includes Whitney’s Chevrolet in Montesano, Aberdeen Honda and Whitney’s Value Ford in Elma.

“We have lots of people helping to keep an eye on things, and the immediate problem is getting electricity back up and going because all the animals are secured with electric fences,” he added.

Glick said he first got a call late Thursday night and then was given updates throughout the night until it was clear the fire was out and the house couldn’t be saved.

“My phone has literally blown up from every neighbor, everybody who lives on our road and people from town,” Glick said. “All our relatives, and their support … we’re just grateful to have so many friends.”

No cause has yet been pinpointed, and Glick said he was leaving that up to fire investigators. The next thing he said he would do would be to contact his insurance company “and let them take care of it from there.”

“We’ll clean up from this and rebuild and move forward,” Glick said. “I’m just thankful nobody was home at the time and nobody was harmed physically. Everybody is all OK.”

Glick first bought the first piece of property at the location in 1979 and then built the house in 1998.

“It’s been a labor of love,” he said. “Lots of memories and lots of mementos.”

Prater was back on scene today after staying out until 4 a.m. The next effort will be to try to find a cause, he said.

District 5 also had a crew on scene all night long, Prater said.

“There was a lot of help through the evening with District 5 and we appreciate that,” he said of the other units that helped.