A Key Peninsula Fire Department engine responded within four minutes of dispatch at 5:57 p.m., but the fire had already been burning inside the four bedroom, two-story house for some time. An investigation by the Pierce County Fire Marshal Warner Web did not find the cause, though firefighters on the scene reported the kitchen to be mostly heavily involved when they arrived.
Additional crews from Gig Harbor and Mason and Kitsap counties also responded to bring water to the scene because there was no hydrant nearby. Engines rotated back to a nearby fire station to refill, a process that takes about five minutes for a 1,500-gallon capacity engine, according to KPFD Assistant Chief Hal Wolverton.
The fire burned “unusually hot,” Wolverton said. The house “was a timber and stone structure with a metal roof that acted like an oven,” he said.
Originally built as a small cabin in the 1920s, the home belonged to Irene Torres, who had lived there since 2001. Torres was a founding member of the KP Community Council in 2003 and joined the staff of the newly restarted KP News that same year. She went on to serve as president of the KP News publishing board for six years and remains a frequent contributor.
“Some of the losses from this fire are permanent,” Torres said. “My keepsakes are gone. Recovering from the financial loss is only possible with fire protection insurance, so my advice is to pay the premium and make sure coverage is adequate.”
Torres said the house was insured. Donations for the family can be made at Sound Credit Union in a fund called “fresh start.”