A $3.6 million lakeside home under construction on a private lane in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood exploded into flames this afternoon.
After the fire spread to two adjacent homes, embers started a small brush fire on a nearby hillside, according to Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore. Embers from the brush fire then landed on three other homes on Northeast Latimer Place.
Altogether, about 100 fire personnel swarmed the neighborhood to quickly control the fire, Moore said.
Two painters inside the house at 5131 N.E. Laurelcrest Lane told firefighters they thought a furnace had exploded. One of them suffered facial burns and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. He was reported to be in stable condition, Moore said. Medics also took two firefighters to Harborview, one for heat exhaustion and one for a minor injury, Moore said.
Neighbors and other workers nearby said the sound of the explosion stunned them.
“We heard a loud boom,” said Alfredo Ramirez, who was painting about three houses down from where the explosion was. “It felt like my hair was going blow out of my head.”
Lee Price, 79, rushed to the scene to check on his granddaughter’s home, which was next to the lakefront homes that caught fire. Laurelcrest Lane was closed to everyone except firefighters but neighbors let Price see from their backyard ridge that their granddaughter’s house was OK.
That wasn’t the case for the home immediately south of the explosion. Moore said damage to that house was extensive.
The home where the fire started is owned by Adam and Laura (Szlyk) Selipsky. Adam Selipsky is listed on Linked In as vice president of marketing, sales, support at Amazon.com Web Services.
Reached by phone late Monday, Laura Selipsky said she was busy with contractors and could not talk, saying only, “I think the fire is out, and I think everyone is doing OK,” she said.
The home to the south of the Selipsky property, at 5129 N.E. Laurelcrest Lane, was built in 2008, and has a county appraised value of $5.7 million. It is owned by Jeffrey Hussey, according to county records.
The home to the north is at 5135 Laurelcrest Lane and it’s appraised value is $4.4 million. The owner according to county records is Georgina Trask.
Plenty of oxygen circulating in the open spaces of the Selipsky home, which was about two months from being finished, fueled the initial fire and made it especially intense, Moore said.
Though no kind of weather can keep an explosion from igniting a home, Seattle Fire spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said the summer’s dry weather played a part in the fire’s spread.
“We’re definitely conscious of how long it’s been since it’s rained, and when you’ve got brush involved, that makes a difference, too,” Fitzpatrick said.