House fire believed to be caused by termites

Fire crews had their hands full with a couple of fires over the weekend.

Just after 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, firefighters responded to a fire in a split-entry home in the 15100 block of 45th Place W.  One end of the house and the attic were on fire when they arrived. Crews had it under under control in about 25 minutes. No one was hurt.

An investigator believes the fire was started by spontaneous combustion in sawdust generated by a termite infestation in the woodpile. Officials say heat released during the decomposition process can cause sawdust, compost or other materials to smolder and eventually ignite.

There was $200,000 in damage.

Also on Saturday, firefighters responded to an unrelated house fire less than half a mile south of the other fire.

It was in an abandoned home in the 15500 block of 48th Street W.  Half of the house was in flames when firefighters arrived. No one was inside the house and there were no injuries.

The house was already in a state of disrepair and had been damaged by previous fires. Crews have responded to at least four fires at the house in the past two years.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating that fire as arson. Witnesses reported seeing some kids in the area around the time of the fire.

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