Just three weeks from completion, the home of their dreams — with three floors, 9,500 square feet and a panoramic view of the Snoqualmie...
Just three weeks from completion, the home of their dreams — with three floors, 9,500 square feet and a panoramic view of the Snoqualmie Valley and the Cascades — was reduced to nothing but a charred pile of wood.
And yet Michael and Bobbi Graff sat on a neighbor’s soft lawn yesterday surrounded by friends and family and tried to maintain perspective.
The fire started yesterday morning after a pile of rags, soaked in wood finish from the construction and left in a bucket in the basement, ignited from spontaneous combustion, said Duvall fire battalion chief David Burke. It caused at least $1 million in damage.
No one was hurt in the fire, because the couple, their three young sons and visiting family members all escaped from a detached garage apartment where the family had been living until completion of construction on the house. The family had not moved furniture or belongings into the home, so the critical keepsakes, such as photo albums and jewelry, were unharmed.
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“It could have been so much worse because (the garage) is where all our memories are,” said Bobbi Graff, 39.
The family planned the home southwest of Duvall for five years, moved into the garage apartment three years ago, and watched the home take shape over the past year. They still hadn’t decided as of yesterday whether to rebuild, Bobbi Graff said. “I would hope we can do it, but we’re pretty weary already.”
Firefighters got the first call at 3:20 a.m., from someone who saw the blaze on the hillside from the valley below. They arrived about 15 minutes later and found most of the house engulfed in flames.
The Graffs escaped a few minutes earlier after Michael Graff woke up and saw the fire burning a few feet from the garage apartment window.
Firefighters immediately took a defensive position and focused successfully on saving the detached garage.
“By the time we got out of the house, it was past saving,” said Michael Graff, a general manager at Microsoft.
No fire hydrants were near the home, in the 25600 block of Northeast 100th Street, and firefighters had to cart water in with fire engines from a hydrant a couple of miles away. But the lack of hydrants did not affect the fate of the home, because the fire was already too advanced to control, Burke said.
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or firstname.lastname@example.org