Gig Harbor man believed dead after explosion, fire

GIG HARBOR, Wash. - An elderly man is believed to have died in an overnight explosion and fire at his home in Gig Harbor, officials said.

Firefighters responded to the scene, a home in the 8800 block of 75th Avenue NW, at about 11:45 p.m. Monday after receiving a 911 call about an explosion and fire, said Eric Waters of the Gig Harbor Fire Department.

While responding to the scene, crews received several reports of an explosion. When they arrived on scene, the house was fully ablaze.

A caretaker who lives in a separate dwelling on the property confirmed an elderly man lived in the house and was seen in the house just prior to the fire. Crews attempted to make entry to find the man but were unable to gain access to the house due to the intensity of the fire.

A second alarm was sent out and firefighting help arrived from Tacoma, West Pierce, South Kitsap and Key Peninsula. It took firefighters more than an hour to bring the blaze under control.

The house was constructed of heavy timbers and sustained extensive damage with structural collapse in most areas, Waters said. As a result, fire investigators have not been able to make entry into the burned area.

It is believed that the elderly man died in the flames, Water said, but this will not be confirmed until fire investigators are able to make entry into the fire area and complete their investigation.

Heavy equipment is being brought in to aid in conducting the investigation.