The unique structure was two stories in height with a full daylight basement that opened up to a large pond
Units from Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue were dispatched at 5:18 a.m. Friday (Dec. 3) to reports of an outbuilding on fire east of La Center at 32318 NE 64th Avenue. Initial reports stated that several explosions could be heard coming from the building.
CCFR Engine 23 from the La Center station arrived nine minutes later to find a two-story building with a basement fully involved in fire. Portions of the building were collapsing as crews stretched hose lines to contain the fire. Due to the amount of fire involvement, crews fought the fire from the outside, known as a “defensive strategy.” Efforts were focused on keeping the fire from spreading to nearby structures. Crews were able to bring the fire fully under control in 40 minutes.
The unique structure was two stories in height with a full daylight basement that opened up to a large pond. The property owners used the structure for entertaining guests. The fire created hazards for responders due to the use of unprotected steel beams and trusses. Heat from the fire caused the beams to weaken, distort and collapse. The pond was at the bottom of a steep, slippery slope. The back side of the structure was reached by a small wooden bridge across the pond. The explosions heard by neighbors were propane tanks and ammunition that were stored in the building.
“We are fortunate that no firefighters were harmed at this fire” stated Fire Chief John Nohr. “The homemade design and construction of this structure lacked fire protection features that are commonly found in this type of building.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office. There were no injuries during this incident.
CCFR was assisted on this incident by water tenders from Clark County Fire District 10.
Information provided by Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue.