KENNEWICK -- A family of four escaped unhurt from an early morning fire in Kennewick on Monday, but the home was nearly destroyed.
A fire alarm woke the family at 1107 W. 22nd Ave. at about 4:30 a.m., said Tod Kreutz, Kennewick Fire Department battalion chief.
The garage and part of the 2,900-square-foot home above it were destroyed by the fire. Firefighters called in heavy equipment later Monday morning to remove the still-standing walls and debris, Kreutz said. The house was insured.
Benton County property records show the house is owned by Donald T. and Lynn A. Ramos. The family is now staying with relatives, fire officials said.
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When reached by phone Monday afternoon, Don Ramos said he didn't want to talk.
Kreutz said after the smoke alarm went off, the mother went upstairs and got an infant and a toddler out of their bedrooms, while the father checked on the fire.
"The parents did an excellent job," Kreutz said.
Mike White, who lives across the street from the Ramos family, said he and his wife were awakened by a popping sound outside.
"At first I thought it was someone knocking down garbage cans," White said.
"Then when we looked out the garage was engulfed in flames, and in just a few minutes the whole house was engulfed."
The temperature was in the low 20s as firefighters battled the fire, which made fighting it tricky.
"Once we started pumping water -- it turned into an ice rink," Kreutz said.
So firefighters asked the city of Kennewick to send a sanding truck.
While the truck was at the scene, it helped pull two cars out of what was left of the smoldering garage. Both cars were destroyed.
After knocking the fire down, firefighters called in heavy equipment to tear down the walls of the garage so investigators could get inside safely to investigate what caused the blaze.
* Cathy Kessinger: 509-582-1535; email@example.com