Elderly couple loses home in Tiger Mountain blaze

December 29, 2008

By Staff

Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters battle a blaze that engulfed a home in the 14500 block of 254th Avenue Southeast Dec. 23.Eastside Fire & Rescue Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters battle a blaze that engulfed a home in the 14500 block of 254th Avenue Southeast Dec. 23.Eastside Fire & Rescue

A house off Southeast Tiger Mountain Road south of Issaquah was destroyed in a Dec. 23 fire. Shortly after 7:30 p.m., several neighbors called 911 to report a fire in the 14500 block of 254th Avenue Southeast. 

Earlier in the day, a neighbor had taken the owners of the house to SeaTac airport, where they flew to Salt Lake City to visit their son for Christmas, said Josie Williams, Eastside Fire & Rescue spokeswoman.

Heavy smoke and flames were visible from the street when crews arrived. A lack of hydrants in the area and narrow, icy roads challenged fire fighters, who used three water tenders that carried 3,000 gallons each, Williams said.

“Getting to fires on icy, snowy roads is always pretty dicey,” Williams said. “The lack of hydrants also didn’t help.”

Firefighters ceased operations due to power lines on the ground arcing and a partial collapse of the structure. In addition, nearby trees and limbs were torched. No surrounding houses or outbuilding were damaged, Williams said.

There were no injuries to firefighters. The origin and cause of the fire remains under investigation by the King County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Jody Bales, a neighbor of the owners, said the homeowners are an elderly man who cares for his wife, who has Alzheimer’s. 

“The couple is staying a little longer with their son in Salt Lake, until an insurance adjuster can look at the property. They lost everything,” Bales said.  

As of Dec. 29 a fund had not been established for the family, she said.

According to the King County Assessor’s Office, Raymond and Willie Johnston own the property.

Earlier in the week, a fire destroyed a South Cove neighborhood home. Firefighters battled a blaze in the 4700 block of 192nd Place Southeast on Dec. 21. The owners of the house, a man, his pregnant wife and their 1-year-old son, were not home. Their dog, which was outside the home, was unharmed.

Winter months are busy for firefighters as residents spend more time indoors, Williams said.

“We’re just busier this time of year with more open cooking, candle use and people using electrical heaters,” she said.

People need to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their houses, she added.

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