Firefighters stalled in finding cause of Carlsborg blaze

The cause of a fire that ravaged a Carlsborg home on New Year’s Day likely will remain undetermined, firefighters say.

“Everybody is scratching their heads trying to figure it out,” said Assistant Chief Dan Orr of Clallam County Fire District 3, last week.

“It’s not a clear picture of where it was started,” Orr said

As far as firefighters can tell though, it was accidental, he said.

Orr is urging residents to ensure they have working smoke detectors, especially because of how cold it has been recently.

“We’re fortunate the gentleman was able to wake up and get everyone out of the house,” he said.

The homeowner, Tom Bellis, awoke to the smell of smoke at about 2 a.m. New Year’s Day and looked out the window at 426 Martha Lane to see the mobile home, only a few feet from the two-story house, on fire.

Bellis said his top concern was making sure his family and pets made it out of the house.

“I went downstairs and got everyone out,” he said.

Once he got everyone out, it was too late to prevent the fire from taking the house. He tried using buckets of water and fire extinguishers to stop the blaze, but had no luck.

“After that it was just sit and watch the show basically,” he said.

Now, he plans to live in a fifth-wheel trailer on the property and start from scratch.

“At least that survived,” Bellis said.

The only thing he was able to salvage from the inferno was his coin collection, which is now likely only worth its weight in silver, he said.

The home was a total loss, said Capt. Chris Turner of Clallam County Fire District 3.

“We’re not quite sure where it started,” he said. “The homeowner said he saw fire under the breezeway.”

The call went in at about 2:06 a.m. and the fire was knocked down within half an hour of arriving to the blaze, he said.

Turner said the house was fully engulfed in flames when he arrived and that his top concern was protecting nearby buildings.

“By the time we got hose lines deployed and water coming, (the house) was already lost,” he said.

The fire did spread to a nearby boat, but didn’t spread any farther, he said.

There were various structures within several yards of the blaze, which caused concern for firefighters.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Bellis, which has a goal of raising $10,000.

His daughter, Mary Bellis, said she plans to set up a donation account in his name at First Federal.

The page says money donated will go toward food, clothing and essentials and that there is a goal to construct a new home in the spring.

The GoFundMe page can be viewed at https://www.gofundme.com/toms-rebuild-project.

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

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