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Red Barn heavily damaged by fire

The Red Barn — a Port Orchard public works storage facility on Mitchell Avenue — got a touch of orange Tuesday afternoon after a fire broke out on its ground floor.

The fire, which is believed to have started at an electrical outlet, quickly spread to the second and third stories. When firefighters arrived on scene shortly before 4:30 p.m., the fire had gotten into the walls and was raging unchecked toward the roof of the structure.

It is unknown whether the specific cause of the blaze was faulty wiring or some other electrical problem.

“The building is old,” said Fire District 7 spokeswoman Lisa Kirkemo. “It’s old wood and it’s balloon construction. The fire had an unimpeded route from the first floor all the way to the third floor.”

Balloon construction, Kirkemo explained, does not include the horizontal two-by-fours braced between wall studs in modern buildings.

Those H-bars are called fire stops and prevent flames from traveling quickly up the interior of a wall.

When firefighters realized the fire was inside the walls of the structure, they quickly evacuated and instead battled the flames using exterior deck guns. These fire engine-mounted nozzles spray water at a top rate of 1,500 gallons per minute. Nevertheless, it still took nearly a half-hour to get the fire under control.

The majority of the damage was to the second and third floors, although there was significant fire and smoke damage throughout the entire building. The metal roof of the barn was a total loss.

Total property loss has been estimated at $123,000 while content loss was estimated at just over $24,500.

The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

City Clerk Pat Parks said the city was in the process of moving most of the contents out of the building in preparation for an impending sale of the barn’s property. Parks said the Kitsap County Consoli-dated Housing Authority was interested in using the land to possibly build a nursing home.

The building held miscellaneous water system parts, paint, spare street lights and the back seats which originally came with the police department vehicles.

Parks said it is unlikely the fire will affect the housing authority’s plans to buy the building.

“If they did buy it, the barn would have had to come down anyway,” Parks said.

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