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A Shoreline house that went up in flames late Wednesday was declared a total loss and was being demolished Thursday, firefighters said.

The couple who had lived in the home for years managed to escape through heavy smoke and flames with seconds to spare, officials said.

The house in the 300 block of Northwest 177th Street caught fire after an explosion at about 10:30 p.m. The two-story home was quickly engulfed, and two neighboring homes were damaged by fire, smoke and water. More than 30 firefighters from four agencies battled the blaze.

The couple lost everything and will have to relocate for an unknown time, said Melanie Granfors, a spokeswoman for the Shoreline Fire Department. She did not have a financial estimate for the loss.

Shoreline fire investigators said Thursday that fireplace ashes had been dumped into a plastic bucket and placed on a wooden surface above large propane tanks. The ashes burned through the bucket and ignited the tanks, causing the explosion and fast-moving fire.