A home on Birch St. in Mount Shasta was badly damaged and its garage reduced to rubble by a fire that started at about 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20.
Residents Kim Larsen, Jack Warren and Jack’s son Leo Bradley were in the house when the fire started but were not injured, nor was their dog.
A sailing boat that Jack had been building in the garage was nowhere to be seen amid the charred remains of the garage, forcing a change in plans for he and Larsen, who were planning to take the boat to the Florida Keys this winter for an extended vacation.
Also destroyed but still standing was the bedroom behind the garage that had been occupied by Kim’s daughter Aubrey until she moved to Arcata just days earlier.
Mount Shasta City Fire Department assistant chief Eric Dyck said close to 40 personnel and six engines responded from Mount Shasta City Fire Department, CAL FIRE, Weed City and Dunsmuir City Fire Departments, Mount Shasta Fire Protection District, the Mount Shasta Police, Mount Shasta Ambulance, California Highway Patrol, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Departments and the Siskiyou County Arson Team.
The residents had time to get a few valuables out of the home before they were told by MSPD officer Chris Stock that it was too dangerous to go back in.
The fate of other valuables was unknown later in the morning while family members answered CAL?FIRE investigator Steve Wilson’s questions and firefighters continued mopping up.
Kim was relieved to hear from a neighbor that the family dog, who ran off during the commotion, was laying low under a nearby motorhome.
Later in the day CAL?FIRE’s Wilson said the cause of the fire was undetermined and still under investigation. He said he and Dave Young of the Sheriff’s Department would get together to go over their notes and try to make a determination.
Kim speculated that it may have had something to do with faulty electrical wiring.
She said she woke up hearing crackling noises outside her bedroom wall and wondered what Jack was doing in the garage. But Jack was elsewhere in the house at the time.
When they went outside to look, only a few flames were coming out of the garage into the small space between it and the wall of Kim’s bedroom.
Kim said she put water on the fire from a garden hose for a couple minutes, then realized that wasn’t going to work.
Soon, the garage was completely engulfed in flames as the firefighters  responded.
Officer Stock said he arrived at 6:40, just before the fire “seriously went up – boom – in about two minutes.”
Leo said he woke up to a banging on his bedroom door and voices telling him to get out.
Kim said she had time to grab a box of family photos, her laptop computer and her new underwater camera.
“I?wanted to go in for another rug, but they wouldn’t let me,” she said.
In his haste to grab things, Jack ended up saving a box of Christmas decorations.
Kim said a firefighter brought out their drums.
“You just grab whatever you can,” said Kim, who thought about other valuables she wished she’d gotten after it was too late.
“You don’t even know what you’re doing,” said Leo.
With her two older daughters living in Japan and Florida and Aubrey’s move to Arcata, Kim said she is  just beginning the empty nest phase of her life. She and Jack were planning to travel to Florida and live on the wood slough he was building in the garage. The fire consumed at least part of that boating dream, but about two hours after it started, Kim was able to say, “Life is good. We’ll make other plans.”