Biodiesel blaze destroys Cougar Mountain home

August 2, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Fire roared through a Cougar Mountain home early July 31 after a backyard biodiesel kit started the blaze.

Just after 6 a.m., neighbors reported flames and smoke shooting from a house in the 17000 block of Southeast 60th Street, a tree-lined neighborhood between Cougar Mountain Zoo and Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

Firefighters converged on the home, and discovered barrels and other equipment used to manufacture biodiesel in the backyard. Investigators later pinpointed the biodiesel setup as the cause of the fire.

“The fire began in the middle of that process, outside of the home, and came into the home from there,” said Lt. Troy Donlin, a Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

Flames roared through the ground floor and damaged the attic. The basement sustained water damage as firefighters extinguished the blaze. Donlin estimated the total damage at $400,000.

Residents in Bellevue’s Lakemont neighborhood reported the fire at the empty residence. The home is about a mile southeast of the elementary school.

“It appeared as though the calls came in progression from the furthest-away neighbor, who saw it through the woods — 20-foot flames and explosions — and the last caller, who was a neighbor across the street,” Donlin said.

The homeowner reached the scene later in the morning.

Units from Eastside Fire & Rescue, and the Bellevue and Mercer Island fire departments, responded to the blaze.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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One Response to “Biodiesel blaze destroys Cougar Mountain home”

  1. bryanw on August 3rd, 2011 9:11 am

    Making BioDiesel requires storage of usually waste vegetable oil and some noxious substances needed to add flammability to the molecule chain normally found in the inflammable oil – methanol, caustic soda, sulphuric acid – these are all a few of the required items to make bio-diesel. I wonder if these folks needed a permit to conduct fuel “refining” on residential premises? At least nobody was hurt!

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