Update – Cause determined in Kent house fire: See the slide show

A single-family residence on the 1300 block of Southeast 230th Street in Kent was appearing to be a total loss following a fire shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday. Two people had escaped the blaze, and firefighters had located another person in the home, a woman, who appeared unharmed, according to Kent Fire Capt. Kyle Ohashi, the public-information officer at the scene.

Seen behind fire tape cordoning off the area

Seen behind fire tape cordoning off the area

(Editor’s Note: Kent Fire investigators have determined that a house fire on the 1300 block of Southeast 230th Street was caused by combustibles igniting after they were placed too close to a fireplace. The fire has been ruled accidental. Radiant heat or sparks ignited the material, heavily damaging the two-story home and forcing the evacuation of two of the residents. A total of four people were displaced by the fire.)

A single-family residence on the 1300 block of Southeast 230th Street in Kent was appearing to be a total loss following a fire shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday.

When emergency personnel first arrived, they were informed by family members there were two adult women who were possibly trapped in the two-story house. Almost immediately one of the women exited the home, and she was turned over to paramedics at the scene. The second woman did not come out on her own so firefighters concentrated their efforts on keeping the flames away from the area she was thought to be in while other rescuers actively searched for her.

High heat, heavy black smoke and fire hampered efforts to locate the trapped woman, until nearly 25 minutes after the first units arrived. Paramedics checked this second woman, then transported both to a local hospital as a precaution. Neither had what were considered life-threatening injuries.

Two other residents – a man and a teenage girl – were not in the home at the time of the fire, and all are being cared for by the Red Cross. Two dogs also were rescued, although several cats were unaccounted for.

Because of the immediate life threat, and the amount of fire, a “second alarm” was called, which brought in additional units from the Renton Fire Department, King County Medic One, Valley Regional Fire Authority and the Zone 3 Rehabilitation Unit. King County Animal Control also assisted.

Two other residents were not home at the time. The call to Kent Fire came in at 2:57 p.m.

A short time after crews extricated the woman from the home, the flames became so intense that the home had to be evacuated by firefighters.

As onlookers from the surrounding neighborhood watched behind emergency tape, firefighters worked to simply keep the blaze contained so that it would not impact any other structures.

A funnel of gray smoke billowed into the sky as flames slowly began eating away at the roof toward the front of the structure. Ohashi said earlier that nearly all of the back roof of the home had fallen in, because the trusses had burned away.

A cause of the fire had not yet been determined. The value of the home is estimated at $170,000.

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