Fire guts home in Aberdeen

A fire broke out in the home of an Aberdeen family on Monday morning, leaving nothing but the burned-out shell of a house and a few salvageable heirlooms.

The fire, at the home of Bill and Jennifer Russell on the 400 block of Sixth Ave. started shortly after 11 a.m. Their son, Jacob Russell, 20, said he heard a strange noise and then discovered the fire. “I heard a crackling. I went outside and there were flames shooting from the garage.”

Russell was able to tell his parents, who were able to get out of the house safely.

“My Mom called me at work and told me, ‘The house is on fire,’ ” said Jack Russell, the couple’s eldest son. “I thought she was joking.”

It took the fire department minutes to get to the scene, according to family members, but when they arrived, the structure was fully involved. In a press release, the Aberdeen Fire Department said the cause of the fire appeared to be “electrical in nature resulting from a coiled extension cord under clothing and other miscellaneous materials.”

The fire spread quickly, likely due to gasoline, other petroleum products and at least one can of propane gas stored in the garage. The fire department scene commander decided to fight the fire defensively to protect any nearby houses.

“Our main priority was fire control and extinguishment,” a press release from the department read. “The involved building was a complete loss and it took approximately one hour to bring the fire under control.”

Twenty-one firefighters from the Aberdeen Fire Department, the Aberdeen fire chief and assistant chief, along with one engine from the Hoquiam Fire Department with two firefighters responded. There were no injuries resulting from the incident.

The family of four had lived in the house for some 20 years. After the fire was extinguished on the second floor of the home, a lineup of collectible dolls, dresses soaked with water, hair singed, and faces black with soot, stood in front of a massive, soggy pile of gypsum from the ceiling warped by the amount of water needed to put out the fire. From the driveway of the house, the skeleton of an heirloom Harley Davidson motorcycle rebuilt decades ago by Bill Russell could be seen just inside the garage. An exploded cylinder of propane gas lay just outside.

Both of the Russell sons said they were shocked and left numb by the fire. Standing outside in the rain looking at the ruin of the family home, Jack Russell tried to come to terms with the loss, “There’s nothing, nothing you can really do about it.”