A residential fire that fully engulfed and destroyed a two-story house Tuesday on the corner of Solberg Street and 133rd Avenue in Yelm might have been the result of arson, a narrative from Southeast Thurston Fire Authority suggests.
According to a report filed Wednesday morning by Brian Richardson, Southeast Thurston Fire captain, a gas canister found on the porch near the origin of the fire was noted as “suspicious and documented” by first responders.
A “visible ‘V’ pattern” on the porch was also noted as the apparent origin of the fire. No tenants were home at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported.
In an interview with an adult male who occupied the house on 13315 Solberg Road SE, Southeast Thurston officials reported that the man’s estranged ex-wife had texted him at 12:20 p.m. notifying him that she was at the property. That was about 25 minutes before Southeast Thurston firefighters were dispatched.
The man reported that his ex-wife was upset and possibly burning his girlfriend’s clothes.
Southeast Thurston Fire Chief Mark King said the cause is still being investigated.
“Other than the homeowner’s statement, that’s about all we have to work off of,” King said. “We don’t have enough evidence to determine that it was an intentional burn … It’s definitely not a normal event for a fire.”
At around 12:44 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, Southeast Thurston Fire Authority received multiple calls regarding a house fire on 13315 Solberg Road SE. The fire was reported to have black smoke building up.
Two fire engines, a tanker and ambulance were then dispatched and arrived at the scene by 12:57 p.m. When first responders arrived, most of the structure was up in flames, according to the report. Smoke could be observed from almost a mile away.
Firefighters set up hoses on multiple sides of the house and spent most of the time establishing a defensive position around the house. Southeast Thurston received mutual aid from Bald Hills Fire Protection District 17 and Lacey Fire District 3.
The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office was also at the scene later and filed a case report on the incident, Lt. Tim Rudloff said. The scene was cleared around 9:33 p.m.
A day after the fire, a GoFundMe.com campaign was created to help the family with their recovery. By Wednesday afternoon, it had raised $765. Its goal is $5,000.
“A family in our community lost their home in a fire today. They left for work this morning and about 12:45 p.m. they got a call they never expected to get and they came to a house in flames and completely lost everything,” wrote Mayeli Holguin-Zamudio, the campaign’s creator.