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Davis Hill house fire displaces two JBLM families

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:49PM August 1st, 2013
Davis Hill house fire displaces two JBLM families

Julie Smith/Northwest Guardian

These two duplex units connected by a carport in Davis Hill housing were destroyed in a fire early Monday morning. A service dog died and two other family pets are still missing.

More residents of Joint Base Lewis-McChord were displaced by a fire this week that destroyed a duplex in the Davis Hill housing community. JBLM fire inspectors are still investigating the cause.

Specialist Sean Sullivan, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery, said the fire started late Sunday night or early Monday morning in his neighbors’ carport. Sullivan, who suffers from post-traumatic stress, lost his service dog, Shy-Shy, in the fire.

The family dog survived, but two other dogs belonging to Sullivan’s sister-in-law, visiting at the time, are still missing.

JBLM fire Chief Dean Dixon said Fire and Emergency Services personnel were alerted just after 5 a.m. Monday. Sullivan said his wife smelled smoke and when she got out of bed to investigate, she found the carport on fire. Sullivan said he thought he might be able to put out the flames, but when he saw the intensity of the fire, he knew there was nothing he could do.

“The neighbor’s house was already engulfed all the way to the front door,” he said.

The fire melted the vinyl siding off the duplex behind the Sullivans and destroyed two cars. JBLM first responders were still dousing flare-ups Monday afternoon. The units are complete losses, Dixon said.

This is the third house fire in seven weeks on JBLM. The first on June 9 gutted a duplex on Mann Avenue, displacing two families. Another fire June 16 extensively damaged a nearby Stryker Avenue home.

The June 9 fire melted vinyl siding off the duplex next door. One car in a carport was completely destroyed and two cars parked on the street were damaged.

The June 16 fire was a block away from the first. The damage was mostly contained in the garage, said JBLM Deputy Fire Chief James Elways, but the inside of the home sustained extensive smoke damage.

Sullivan arrived in March with his wife and two children. The couple is also expecting a baby soon. They have been moved to temporary housing on McChord Field.

Equity Residential, JBLM’s privatized housing contractor, will assess structural soundness and make the decision whether to rebuild the homes.