Flames were still shooting out from buildings in the 100 and 200 blocks of 11th Avenue in Seaside Sunday morning. Residents had been evacuated safely from the late-night blaze, but by Sunday morning, firefighters continued to work the fire. With high winds expected Sunday and throughout the week, shovels worked through debris and crews sought to keep the fire contained.
“We had four houses that caught fire and burned,” Seaside Division Chief Chris Dugan said at the scene. “The fire is under investigation. We’re still busy putting it out.”
Fire departments and emergency personnel from Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart, Astoria and Hamlet responded to the alarm at 2:33 a.m.
Seaside’s Capt. Mike Smith served as incident commander.
At least 50 firefighters were called out, Dugan said. “We actually went to a third alarm very fast into the fire,” he said.
Behind a cordoned off area, Neighbor David Doney said he was awakened by smoke and sirens. “We came down here when we saw this, about 4:30 this morning,” Doney said. “There was a big gas fire going on. I think they had every fire truck in the county.”
Seaside residents Carl and Shirley Yates arrived at the scene overnight. Their relatives, Chuck and Carole LaDeRoute, own one of the homes destroyed.
“We had Fourth of July barbecues in the back with all the neighbors,” Shirley Yates said. “It was an old house, but it was so homey, it was so inviting.”
The LaDeRoutes arrived in Seaside early Sunday morning from their home in Hillsboro. “I just spent $25,000 upgrading the property,” Chuck LaDeRoute said as he surveyed the still-smoldering fire.
The LaDeRoutes purchased the house in 1982. “We just put $25K into it last year,” Chuck LaDeRoute said. “New air-conditioning, new fireplace, new carpet. Well, looks like the fireplace is still working.
“We almost came down this weekend,” he added. “I’m glad we didn’t.”
“God gave us a house and we’ve enjoyed it for many, many years,” Carole LaDeRoute said. “We have lots of happy memories. We had Thanksgiving in that house a year ago.”