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Willapa Harbor Herald
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Fire destroys two buildings in Vader

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Firefighters attempt to douse a house fire Sunday morning on the 800 block of A St., in Vader, but were unable to safe the residence or a storage building directly north of the residence. The Little Falls Masonic Lodge, located south of the residence, also suffered exterior fire damage, but was able to be preserved by responders. (Photo submitted by Claudia Clark Krohn.)

What began as a house fire destroyed two buildings and threatened another in Vader yesterday morning, according to Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20.

The blaze broke out around 8:50 a.m. on the 800 block of A St. within the rear of a single-family residence and quickly spread to the rest of the house, according to District 20 Chief Rich Underdhal. When responders arrived on scene, the residence was fully-involved and the fire had spread to an exterior wall of the Little Falls Masonic Lodge, located just south of the residence, as well as a quonset hut to the north of the residence, described as the location of a youth center once operated by local church groups but used for private storage at the time of the incident.

The fire to the exterior of the lodge was extinguished quickly while the residence and the quonset hut were both total losses. At one point, explained Underdhal, firefighters were unable to remain within the quonset hut to battle the fire and hired a local excavator to teat its roof off to provide safe access to the flames.

Around 40 firefighters responded from districts in Vader, Ryderwood, Winlock, Toledo and Napavine, with one firefighter being transported to Providence Centralia Hospital via private vehicle after suffering a leg injury.

When responders arrive, there were no occupants within the residence, lodge or quonset hut, though witnesses stated three individuals had fled the house after the fire started, and Underdhal stated a fire investigator with the Chehalis Fire Department later made contact with the residents after they had traveled to Providence Centralia Hospital with unspecified injuries. Attempts to contact said fire investigator prior to deadline were unsuccessful.

Crews remained on site until well into the afternoon, with Underdhal stating they intend to re-visit the location in coming days to check for and extinguish any hot spots.

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