Midnight fire claims condemned Yakima County home

WAPATO, Wash. — Yakima County code enforcement had been there before, tagging the house “Do Not Occupy.” Now it is gone. The house caught fire early Tuesday.

The single-story house at 1300 Ashue Rd. between Parker and Wapato went up in flames overnight. Firefighters responded around 12:30 a.m. and found the home to be “70% involved with fire in the attic and in the full basement,” according to Yakima County Fire District 5 Captain JJ Ihnen.

“While attacking the fire from the exterior we found the floor had been compromised,” said Captain Ihnen. “Crews continued with the exterior attack and also checked the uninvolved portion for any victims.”

When no one was found inside, firefighters assessed the rest of the house. The roof was also compromised, they said, and there were flames in voids that they couldn’t reach. They decided for safety’s sake to let it all burn.

“We stood by until the structure had burned down into the basement,” Captain Ihnen said, noting they were on scene for three-and-a-half hours until 4:00 in the morning.

The department believes the fire started outside the home, moved quickly and got into the basement. Firefighters called up the fire marshal’s office and the sheriff’s office to tell them it all seemed suspicious.

Yakima County Fire District 5 lists Devin Menard as the property owner in this case. The losses are estimated at $120,000. The cause is under investigation.