Franklin County Fire Completely Destroys House
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Firefighters say target practice may be too blame for a fire in Franklin County. A house, motor homes, and cars went up in flames as a result.
It all started late this afternoon on the 2100-block of Pasco-Kahlotus Highway. Franklin County Firefighters believe it started at a nearby gun range, where a man was shooting at a metal target. From the small spark at the gun range, a large grass fire grew and eventually destroyed a house, leaving an elderly couple without a home.
Jeff Strebin farms a cornfield right next to the home that burned down. He says, "It's sad to see elderly neighbors lose everything they've worked so hard to build."
After an employee alerted Strebin of the fire, he got in his tractor, and tried to protect he land, but fire officials say there was no way for them to keep the fire from getting to the house.
Franklin County Fire's Tawna Maiden says, "Part of the problem was that the natural fuels were too close to the house. There was no way to catch the fire before it got to the house."
Firefighters blocked off Pasco-Kahlotus highway and cars lined the street as onlookers watched the home go up in smoke.
The road was eventually re-opened but the fire still burned up 500 acres including the house, 5 other buildings, over a dozen cars, and a motor home. Jeff Strebin says there is a lesson in this fire.
He says, "People need to keep in mind when they are vacationing and have empty bottles and cigarettes, that they can't be thrown out of the vehicles."
Franklin County firefighters say fortunately only a dog and cat were killed in the fire and they are glad to say they finally have the area contained. Jeff Strebin says that while he is glad his farm was protected, he is sad for his neighbors. He says "Everything that they had is gone."
Firefighters want to remind homeowners to have at least 30 feet of green between your house and any dry brush. Firefighters from Franklin County as well as Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and Benton County responded to the fire. They say the area is completely contained but with more high winds and dry gras expected, they are worried about another fire.