Fire destroys 100-year-old South Kitsap home

Firefighter Mike Kehl extinguishes residual flames at a Port Orchard house fire on Wednesday.   - Charlie Bermant
Firefighter Mike Kehl extinguishes residual flames at a Port Orchard house fire on Wednesday.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

A fire that reportedly started as the result of a faulty space heater destroyed a South Kitsap home on Wednesday morning.

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue crews responded to the fire at 4900 Hillcrest Drive in Port Orchard at around 11:40 a.m., according to Battalion Chief Mike Wernet.

Upon arriving crews found that the fire was “fully involved,” according to Wernet.

At the time of the fire, homeowner Robert Pemble was gathering wood outside the house when he noticed the flames. He approached the house in order to warn his wife, Judi, who had run outside when she noticed the flames.

Pemble said the couple first attempted to stem the flames with a fire hose, with no success.

When asked about the cause of the fire, Pemble blamed ”one of those Chinese heaters.”

The house was built in 1909, and has been occupied by five generations of the Pemble family. Several family members live in proximity to the house, and were among those watching firefighters clean up on Wednesday afternoon.

“This is a real tragedy,” said Chris Pemble, Robert Pemble’s son. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson said the home was “all blackened” and most likely destroyed.

The Pembles did have pets, Wilson said, but they were also outside the home.

The Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

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