Closed doors a boon in fire, Walla Walla fire chief says

Interim city Fire Chief Bob Yancey said the closed door gave a couple more time to escape a blaze.

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A fire fighter works at taking down the ceiling to get to smoldering remnants of a house fire in the living room of a home at 1219 Figueroa Street early Wednesday morning. Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WALLA WALLA -- Keep your bedroom doors closed at night. That's the message Interim Fire Chief Bob Yancey sent out in a news release after a house fire Tuesday morning on Figueroa Street.

Antonio Campolio and Vanessa Ferraro, who rent the house, were both at home when the fire broke out shortly before 7:20 a.m. The couple escaped through a bedroom window after being awakened by their dogs, which also escaped the fire. Yancey said because the couple's bedroom door was closed, they had more time to escape.

The couple's daughter was not at home, and Yancey said her bedroom door had been left open.

"Her bedroom was gutted by the fire," Yancey said.

Fire investigators believe paper near a gas fireplace may have been the cause of the fire.

"We're speculating the dogs were being rambunctious," Yancey said, adding the fire quickly spread to a couch. "It took off from there."

Damage to the house is estimated at $80,000 not including an estimated $20,000 damage to personal belongings. The fire started on the main floor and burned through to the second floor and the attic. Despite the damage, Yancey said the house may not have to be torn down.

"I think structurally, it's a very sound building," Yancey said.

The house is owned by Douglas Tate. All parties had insurance, according to Yancey.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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