The body of a 68-year-old woman was recovered from the scene following a Whatcom County shop fire Friday afternoon northeast of Bellingham.
The woman has been identified as Mary L. Devisscher, Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel told The Bellingham Herald.
The cause and manner of death are awaiting test results following an autopsy on Monday, Dec. 16, Dr. Goldfogel said. He also noted that the death is not initially suspicious, as the woman was believed to be a heavy smoker.
At 3:26 p.m. Dec. 13, North Whatcom Fire and Rescue crews were called to the fire located in the 5000 block of Wahl Road, division chief Herschel Rostov told The Herald. Firefighters from the Bellingham Fire Department, Lynden Fire Department and Whatcom County Fire District 14 also responded.
Crews arrived to find a 20-foot by 40-foot detached shop building fully involved in flames, Rostov said. The shop also reportedly had a living space inside.
Firefighters immediately began to fight the fire defensively, Rostov said, as the flames did not allow them to enter the structure and there were reports of partial roof collapse as they arrived on scene.
“It was at the end of a very long driveway, and it was rough supplying water all the way back there,” Rostov said. “We set up tender operations and a series of relay pumps.”
Whatcom County Fire Investigator Will Anderson told The Herald that the cause of the fire would remain undetermined due to the extent of the damage to the structure. He estimated the monetary damage done to be less than $80,000.
Anderson also wants to remind homeowners to make sure their address numbers are clearly marked along the road to make it easier for firefighters to locate them in an emergency.