Blaze spread quickly in 100-year-old structure
Firefighters from Carlton through Mazama responded to a massive house fire on Burgar Street in Twisp on Monday afternoon (Feb. 11).
The blaze was reported around 2 p.m. A towering thick, black column of smoke rose from the house almost immediately and was visible throughout town, said Okanogan County Fire District 6 Chief Cody Acord.
Flames were coming out of the windows within a couple of minutes, said Acord. “Five minutes later, it was already in the second story and fully involved,” he said. The cause is unknown.
That progression is fast, but it’s typical for a 100-year-old structure, said Acord. Although firefighters were able to quickly knock down the fire, because of the old construction, the fire spread quickly throughout the interior framing, according to the Fire District. According to county records, the house was built in 1912.
The owner reported the house empty, according to the Fire District. The house was a rental and was reportedly between tenants, said Acord.
While all four District 6 stations responded, there were just 22 firefighters, including paid staff. That was just enough people to control the blaze safely — for teams in the house to take breaks and the outdoor crew to run nozzles and engines, said Acord.
Firefighters stayed on scene for five hours and, because of the 11-degree temperature, spent another couple of hours Monday night thawing and cleaning engines, equipment and gear, said Acord.
Two officers from the Twisp Police Department spent the night in shifts at the destroyed property to safeguard the scene. Deputies with the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office arrived Tuesday morning for an investigation, said Vicki Hallowell, the public safety clerk for the town of Twisp.
According to county records, the house belongs to Mark Seguin. Seguin was a fire chief for the town of Twisp in the early 2000s, before the town contracted with the county for fire protection, said Hallowell.