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Smoldering cigarette butt believed to have caused $530,000 in damage to two Newcastle houses
Bellevue fire investigators suspect that a smoldering cigarette butt in a plastic container started fire that significantly damaged two Newcastle homes Saturday afternoon.
"A neighbor called in the fire at 12:17 p.m. Saturday, reporting smoke and flames coming from the chimney of her neighbor’s house," according to a press release from the Bellevue fire department. "Within seven minutes, firefighters arrived in the 8300 block of 128th Avenue Southeast to find heavy flames through the roof of the single-family residence."
Firefighters were ordered to abandon the home when part of the roof collapsed, and because they were forced to fight the fire from the exterior, there was "significant damage," estimated at $500,000, to the home.
The wind blew hot embers from the first house onto the cedar shake roof of a second home, which also caught fire, but firefighters were able to contain that second fire to the attic space. Damage to the second home was estimated to at $30,000, and the fire department described it as, "minimal." Residents were able to reoccupy the house late Saturday evening.
Twenty-three units from Bellevue, Mercer Island, Renton, and Eastside Fire and Rescue spent more than an hour to control the fires at the two homes. No one was injured.