Mount Vernon, Washington- Firefighters from the Mount Vernon Fire Department responded to a reported commercial structure fire at 3:01 am on May 1st, 2016 at Craft Stoves in the 900 block of West Division Street in Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon Officers arrived on scene first and reported Flames visible from the Craft Stoves building with heavy smoke. A Skagit Breaking Viewer reported an explosion heard around 3:07 am.
The fire was quickly upgraded to a multi-alarm fire and firefighters from The City of Burlington, City of Sedro Woolley, McLean Road, District 3, Clear Lake, District 6*,Big Lake, District 13, and La Conner Fire Department responded to assist Mount Vernon Firefighters.
SkagitBreaking.com was on scene shortly after hearing the call on the Fire Scanners and arrived at the same time as representatives from both businesses arrived on scene.. We witnessed heavy fire with power wires down from the rear Southeast corner of the Craft Stoves Building and from the Front Northwest Corner of the Craft Stoves building.
The Fire Quickly grew and spread to the neighboring Hansen’s Furniture Store, which raged out of control for several hours while several ladder trucks and engine crews worked to contain the stubborn fire. Crews were able to save a home under construction just to the West of the Fire.
Both buildings were older and full of items that made it difficult for fire crews to extinguish the fire. Craft Stoves reportedly had over 20,000 pounds of wood stove pellets, which burn hot and are hard to extinguish. The Hansen’s furnishing building had multiple displays of home furnishing items which also added fuel to the fire. Witnesses on scene said Hansen’s Furniture had been in Business since 1947* and Craft Stoves had been in Business for over 30 years. It was reported to previously have been a Feed and Seed Company before it became Craft Stoves.
The Chem-Dry building directly behind Craft Stoves suffered heat and smoke damage to the exterior of the building. The owners were on scene and reported the brick building withstood a lot of the heat and it appeared the paint was bubbling and the windows and doors had cracked and were broken. They were not allowed in the building due to safety reasons, so it is unknown if the interior of the building sustained any further damage.
As Firefighters from around the county poured thousands upon thousands of gallons of Water on the fire, the storm drains in the area became backed up and the water traveled West along the road and into a residential neighborhood, where it flooded some homes basements in the area. The extent of the damage to the homes was unknown and firefighters tried their best to keep the drains cleared and working by sweeping the debris and shoveling the debris out of the path of the water. There was a visible 1/2 foot to foot of water inside the burning buildings once the drains had backed up.
Representatives from the Mount Vernon Police Department (MVPD) and the MVPD Citizens on Proactive Patrol (COPP) program directed traffic in the area until the City of Mount Vernon crews and the Washington State Department of Transportation Crews could set up detours around the fire. A Puget Sound Energy Crew responded and cut power to the area. It is unknown how long the power will be out in the immediate area. Businesses surrounding the fire were closed due to the lack of power. A representative from Cascade Natural gas arrived and shut of the gas to the business as well.
The owner of Hansen’s Furniture opened up her secondary store across the street from the fire and allowed the firefighters access to the business to use the business restroom during their rehab time as they rotated crews in and out of the fire ground operations to rehab.
One of the Owners of Craft Stoves said he owned the business but not the building, so he wasn’t sure how everything was going to work out. He was visibly upset that the fire was going to affect his employees, customers and their families as well as his fellow neighboring business owners and their customers and families.
Craft Stoves also said that all of their files and customer information was believed to be destroyed in the fire. They ask that if you had service scheduled for the following week that you please contact them through their Facebook Page so they can make arrangements.
Both Buildings were completely destroyed in the fire. The Estimated cost of the damage and loss to the two businesses was expected to be in excess of $1.5 million dollars.
The Fire Marshall said he hopes to be able to get into the building around noon and start the fire investigation.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. For further Photos, please visit Skagit Breaking on Facebook.