Fire destroys large home in Brook Forest Estates

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By Vicky Gits

A wind-whipped fire destroyed a three-story wood-frame home in Brook Forest Estates on Oct. 4.

No one was home at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries.

A couple of neighbors noticed smoke and flames and called in the alarm at 3:23 p.m. Saturday. The first two firefighters to arrive, at 3:27, were Deputy Chief Jeff Ashford and Matt Swinden, a neighbor and rookie volunteer firefighter, said Chief Garry DeJong of Evergreen Fire/Rescue.

It appeared that the fire started outside in some ashes that had been placed by a woodpile next to the house, DeJong said. Smoke could be seen from Stagecoach Boulevard.

“The wind started picking up Saturday afternoon, causing the ashes to get hot and ignite the kindling, which was right next to the house,” DeJong said.

There was some concern the fire would spread to the nearby woods, but firefighters were able contain the blaze and did not have to call for reinforcements from other departments.

The homeowners, Jeff and Melodee Leuders, were gone for the afternoon. Their grown daughter was also living there.

The 3,000-square-foot home was a “total loss,” DeJong said.

Firefighters used about 25,000 gallons from the cisterns purchased by the fire department and buried along Brook Forest Road last spring. The house was about a mile and a half from Station 8 on Brook Forest Road.

Without the cisterns, firefighters would have had to go farther for water and take a lot more time to shuttle water to the site, DeJong said.

Trucks obtained more water from the Brook Forest Water District.

About 30 volunteers were on the scene with 15 pieces of equipment. A fire crew stayed at the site overnight in case of a flare-up.