Kalama, Wash. — Firefighters from Cowlitz County Fire District 5 in Kalama, Washington, responded to a distress call on Thursday night. The caller reported seeing smoke emanating from a neighboring house. As the first engine was en route, a second alarm was raised.
Approximately 9 minutes after the initial dispatch, the first engine arrived at the scene. Flames were observed engulfing the roof, as well as the first and second levels of the two-story Victorian home. The structure, which dates back to 1900, suffered significant damage.
Fire crews promptly initiated fire suppression operations and commenced an interior search. However, due to the deteriorating conditions, the search could only be partially completed before the roof started to collapse. Thankfully, it was later confirmed that the homeowner was not present during the incident.
Multiple fire agencies from neighboring areas in Cowlitz County, including the City of Longview Fire Department and Clark/Cowlitz Fire and Rescue, responded to the scene. Cowlitz PUD addressed downed power lines, while the City of Kalama Public Utilities provided assistance. In total, 11 fire crews comprising 35 firefighters were deployed.
One firefighter sustained a non-life-threatening injury and was subsequently transported to St. John Hospital in Longview for evaluation. The firefighter was released after a few hours.
Firefighters will remain at the scene throughout the day to extinguish any remaining hot spots. Regrettably, the historic home, valued at over $500,000, is expected to be declared a total loss.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.