Investigation continues into July 11 fire

Fire broke out at the entrance on a two-story apartment on July 11. Three people suffered minor injuries in the blaze in downtown Port Orchard. - Photo by Shirley DeFord/DeFord Photography
Fire broke out at the entrance on a two-story apartment on July 11. Three people suffered minor injuries in the blaze in downtown Port Orchard.
— image credit: Photo by Shirley DeFord/DeFord Photography

The investigation continues into a three-alarm fire that destroyed a second-story apartment above a former downtown restaurant last week.

The Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office, along with investigators from the Port Orchard Police Department and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office were at the scene earlier this week, walking and examining the the charred remains on the apartment above the former Los Cabos restaurant at the corner of Bay Street and Fredrick Avenue.

The Fire Marshal’s Office will later determine the cause of the fire.

The fire, which happened about 8 p.m. July 11, started in the apartment’s main entryway. Two men and a boy were able to escape the blaze, but three other people — two men and a woman — were trapped inside.

Police Chief Geoffrey Marti said the three were in a bedroom on the north side of the building when they discovered the fire that blocked the main exit.

“They went into a bathroom on the west side and closed the door to protect themselves,” Marti said. “They ended up smashing out a small bathroom window and all three escaped through the window onto the roof.”

When officers — who were first on the scene — arrived they found the two men and the woman on the burning apartment’s roof.

“Officers commandeered a pickup, pulled it into an alleyway and helped the people off the roof,” Marti said.

Witness Ron Johnson said there were also two small dogs who were helped off the roof. He said officers coaxed the three people to drop the dogs onto the awning.

The three were transported to Harrison Medical Center and treated for injuries received while escaping through the window.

“There was a lot of witnesses to what happened here,” Marti said. “When officers arrived here, there were a lot of people helping. There was a lot going on and it was pretty hectic.”

Marti said there could have been as many as eight people in the building when the blaze started. Most of the damage was to the apartment’s entryway.

Marti said he’s been inside the apartment before.

“It was packed with a lot of stuff,” he said.

Marti said his department is continuing the investigation and interviewing witnesses.

“The damage to this building is devastating and probably a total loss,” Marti added.

Smoke from the blaze could be seen from the Sinclair Inlet as a Chris-Craft Rendezvous event and Concert on the Bay were under way. Officers closed down Bay Street as emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue crews arrived about 8:07 p.m., and were joined by units from Bremerton and Central Kitsap fire departments. About 9 p.m., crews extinguished the fire.

Officers reopened Bay Street about 10:30 p.m.


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