Firefighters Battle Abandoned House Fire on Willis

House was frequently occupied by transients and drug users.

Kent News: Brushfire along I-5 threatens homes on Kent's West Hill

House was frequently occupied by transients and drug users.

Puget Sound Fire crews fought a stubborn house fire this evening in the 200 block of E. Willis Street.

The fire was first reported at 9:35 PM as smoke coming from an older two-story house. When firefighters arrived, they found smoke coming from the second-story eaves. Many of the windows and doors of the home were boarded up which made access difficult.

After getting inside, firefighters spent over two hours fighting the fire. Several factors made this fire difficult to extinguish. First, the home utilized an older building design called balloon construction which does not have fire stops in the walls. This allowed the fire to travel through the walls from the first floor to the second.

Another factor in the home was its layout, which had many small, difficult to reach areas behind partial walls where fire could grow, unchecked.

Finally, firefighters found that many of the interior walls and ceilings were over two inches thick and made from solid wood rather than sheetrock. This forced them to use chainsaws to open holes in the walls rather than the hooks they would normally use.

According to the fire investigator, the home was abandoned but was frequently occupied by transients and drug users.

Because of the fire damage, an exact cause to the fire may not be determined. There was no electricity connected to the home so the cause was human, either accidental or intentional.

[Source: Puget Sound RFA]