Two North Bend women died in a house fire early Sunday.
Law-enforcement officials on Monday continued to search for a man who lived in a North Bend-area home with two women whose bodies were discovered Sunday in the burning house.
Peter A. Keller, 41, has been described as a person of interest, but not a suspect. The victims are believed to be his wife and daughter, but investigators have not confirmed their identities.
Keller has not been seen since the bodies were discovered.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m., neighbors reported seeing smoke coming from a house in the 47200 block of Southeast 159th Street near Twin Falls State Park, Eastside Fire and Rescue Chief Lee Soptich said.
Most Read Local Stories
- Wondering why society went off-kilter during the pandemic? It was all predicted in this book
- Big gap between Pfizer, Moderna vaccines seen for preventing COVID hospitalizations
- Video shows helicopter rescue of missing hiker in Olympic National Park
- COVID hospitalizations down in Washington, but deaths are on the rise
- He found an intact headstone buried in his Seattle backyard. You might, too
Firefighters had a tough time getting inside the house because the front door was blocked by a couch and other furniture. Investigators initially believed the door had been deliberately barricaded.
However, friends of the two victims have since explained that the furniture was always organized that way. The occupants used a side door to enter and exit the house, King County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West said on Monday.
“Friends of the people living in the home say there was a couch and a chair always blocking the door. It does not change the fact that the deaths are suspicious,” West said.
Firefighters found several gas cans scattered throughout the house with varying amounts of gasoline inside them, Soptich said. West later said seven gas cans had been found.
A bomb-disposal unit called in to clear the house found something that resembled a pipe bomb, West said, but when investigators blew it up they found nothing inside and now believe it was a harmless container.
West said that firefighters quickly knocked down the front door and moved the furniture to get to the women, who were taken from the single-story prefabricated house shortly before 9 a.m. Despite efforts to resuscitate them they were pronounced dead at the scene.
The fire was declared under control at 9:24 a.m.
West said that the women were likely dead before being pulled out of the home.
West declined to comment on the relationship of the women. She said their names and cause of death should be released on Monday afternoon after autopsies are completed.
One of the victims is believed to be in her late teens or early 20s and the other in her early 40s.
Neighbors said a married couple lived in the house with their teenage daughter.
“We don’t know what we have,” West said. “We’re treating it like a homicide, but we don’t know if it’s a double murder or a murder-suicide or something else.”
Cate Reynolds walked to the scene Sunday afternoon with her daughter and other friends, who said they were best friends with and recently graduated from the same high school as a young woman who lived in the house.
“They wanted to just come and be close and process some stuff,” Reynolds said.
Detectives and fire investigators were expected to return to the house Monday to search for clues as to what happened.
After discovering the bodies, police quickly launched a search for a missing Toyota Corolla, which was found abandoned late Sunday afternoon in the North Bend area.
The car may belong to Keller, authorities said. The car was impounded and will be searched for clues.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this story.
Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.