Fire destroys 77-year-old's Olympia home Thursday

Staff writerJanuary 23, 2014 

A 77-year-old Olympia woman escaped unharmed after her home in the 900 block of Lybarger Street caught fire about 11 a.m. Thursday.

Olympia firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, which homeowner Velta George said may have started after she put ashes from her fireplace into a compost bin.

George said she learned about the fire from a neighbor. George added that she was watching television at the time and was unaware of the spreading smoke and flames.

"A gentleman came to the door, knocked, told me there was a fire and I should get out so I did," she said.

Olympia Fire Lt. Brian Schenk said the home is believed to be a total loss, due to the extensive smoke and fire damage throughout.  George's car also was destroyed in its carport adjacent to the home.

Schenk said the fire is under investigation, but is not believed to be suspicious. He added that fire investigators are not sure what caused the fire, and will investigate. He said the fire may have started in George's compost bin, but investigators have not ruled out other possible causes.

"She said that's what she did, but we have to investigate," Schenk said.

As George watched firefighters put out hotspots around noon Thursday, one Olympia firefighter brought her a salvaged Seahawks sweatshirt, which she put on.

George said she has lived in her home on Lybarger on Olympia's east side for a long time. "Oh heavens, 30, 35 years," she said. She said she will not be displaced by the fire and has family she can stay with.

Olympia Fire Department responded with 4 engines, 1 ladder truck, 2 medic units, and a command unit.  The fire was under control in under 30 minutes.


  Estimated loss of the structure and belongings is approximately $100,000.


Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445

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