Fern Prairie house fire is under investigation

Four pets died

A fire in a Fern Prairie home has left a family’s four pets dead.

“We have only recovered one pet,” East County Fire and Rescue Chief Dean Thornberry said Thursday. “The others are presumed dead.”

The animals were two dogs and two cats.

Thornberry said units were dispatched Wednesday, at 7:47 a.m., to 3507 N.E. 304th Ave.

The homeowners were not home at the time.

Neighbors reported hearing an explosion and seeing smoke and fire.

Since then, Thornberry said he saw no evidence of a major explosion.

“The house was standing,” he said. “There were no walls buckled or debris in the yard.”

A Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who was in the area, was the first person on the scene and relayed information to fire crews before they arrived.

“That was a big help,” Thornberry said.

When units first arrived, they heard two propane tanks exploding and what sounded like ammunition popping.

One of the propane tanks was next to a barbecue grill on the deck, and the other tank was in a garage that was attached to the house via a breezeway.

The walls of the two-story structure collapsed into a basement, and the garage is no longer there.

A barn and a shop are still standing.

ECFR crews stayed on the scene Wednesday until about 6:30 p.m. to let the fire burn itself out and make sure embers did not start a brush fire.

The firefighters returned Thursday.

“We’ve gone back out there a couple of times to make sure the fire is not flaring up,” Thornberry said. “It’s still smoldering.”

The fire crews have also made contact with the residents — two adults and a teenage boy.

The Camas-Washougal and Vancouver fire departments also responded to the scene of the fire, which is under investigation by Ken Hill, a deputy fire marshal with the Clark County Fire Marshal’s office.

The Port of Camas-Washougal provided a track hoe to pull apart a deck and a wall that were blocking the firefighters’ ability to spray water into the basement.

The property is owned by John and Diana Dumas, according to Clark County records. The 2,176 square foot home, on 5.09 acres, had a 1,568 square foot finished basement.

This article will be updated, when more information becomes available.

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