Pasco family escapes from burning home

By Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldAugust 31, 2012 

A charcoal grill may be to blame for setting a Pasco home on fire Thursday afternoon.

Heavy flames and black smoke could be seen coming from the two-story home at 712 W. Leola St., just after the blaze was reported at 2:45 p.m.

Crews from Pasco and Kennewick fire departments and Franklin Fire District 3 responded to the scene.

Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear said firefighters found heavy fire on the back of the home that had extended into the living area and spread through both floors of the split-level home.

The fire also got into the attic and roof.

As bystanders gathered on a hill in the park behind the home and along the street in front of the house, firefighters could be seen spraying water into a corner of the attic where bright orange flames were visible.

The power from the water stream spraying into the attic sent pieces of the roof flying into the street.

A father and four kids were home at the time the fire started. Everyone got out without injuries, Gear said. The kids ranged in age from 7 to 11.

Gear said the resident had been barbecuing earlier, but it wasn't yet clear if that was the cause. It is, however, consistent with the area where the fire likely started, he said.

The resident, Jamie Townsend, told the Herald that he had been inside and heard popping sounds outside where the grill was.

"Something must have gotten out of control," he said. "By the time I went to get the water hose, everything was on fire."

Townsend, who lives in the home with his wife, Neomia, said the house has been in his family since it was built in 1972. Eight different family members have lived there.

The house is expected to be a total loss, Gear said. Charred debris could be seen inside through the broken windows on the front of the house.

Townsend does have family in the area where he will be able to stay, so the Red Cross was not called out, Gear said.

-- Photographer Kai-Huei Yau contributed to this report.

-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com

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