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Fire guts Electric City home

 

A firefighter sprays water and retardent foam on the burning house Tuesday afternoon. — Scott Hunter photo

An Electric City man’s home burned Tuesday, keeping firefighters working for hours on the stubborn blaze that started just after noon.

The residence of Michael Lowry, at 214 2nd Street, overlooks Banks Lake at the end of the street in a neighborhood of houses and trees surrounded by brush and grass.

Fire engines from Electric City, Grand Coulee, Coulee Dam and the Bureau of Reclamation, and ambulances from both Electric City and Grand Coulee were on hand.

The blaze, which quickly engulfed the residence, sent pillars of black smoke high into the sky.

By the time fire engines arrived, the fire was very hot and had consumed a large portion of the structure.

Neighbors quickly began watering the area around their houses, worried that sparks from the blaze might start more fires.

Kathy Ballard, who lives below Lowry, made the 911 call.

“I looked out my window and saw fire in Mike’s kitchen window,” Ballard stated. “While talking with the 911 operator, I could see Mike’s dog and cat leaving the structure.”

“Two boys that were working on an engine in the garage for Mike, Jimmy Francis and Joey Balzador, apparently went in the house and got Lowry out,” she stated.

However, another report had firefighters breaking a basement window to pull Lowry out.

Fire engulfs the Lowry home in Electric City. — Scott Hunter photo

Electric City Fire Chief Bill Miley, who was still involved in fighting the fire at 5 p.m ., said firefighters were punching holes in the roof in places to try to access some of the rooms, and there were still rooms they couldn’t reach, so hot and stubborn was the blaze.

Miley said perhaps as many as 30 firefighters were working to put the fire out.

In mid-afternoon, with the fire still sending up smoke, city worker Jared Armstrong, who was seeing that firefighters got enough water supply, said it had been reported that the fire started after Lowry started up his stove and fell asleep, but Chief Miley said that was just speculation.

“When we are able to fully access the building and have time to talk with people, we will know a lot more,” he said.

Miley said there had been some minor explosions, but he wasn’t certain if they were caused by ammunition.

He said firefighters would be on hand for the rest of the night, trying to get fire inside the residence subdued.

 

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