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One firefighter injured in Monte home fire

No occupants were injured Monday when a fire caused extensive damage to a Montesano home Monday night, but one firefighter did suffer minor injuries, the Montesano Fire Department reported.

Firefighters started working on the blaze in the 400 block of Medcalf Lane at 5:31 p.m. Monday and appeared to be getting the fire under control at about 7:15 p.m.

“Firefighters took an aggessive stance on the fire, and went into the interior to try to fight the fire with an offensive attack,” Montesano Fire Chief Corey Rux said.

It wasn’t long before the fire changed and firefighters had to move outside and focus on preventing the fire from spreading. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the building where the blaze orginated.

Neighbors identified the resident as Harley Adamson, former owner of Adamson Auto Body and former longtime volunteer with the Montesano Fire Department.

Montesano Fire Lt. Brian Schumacher said four people escaped the home unharmed. He said Adamson was a volunteer for at least 25 years and has been a frequent visitor to the station since his retirement.

“We’re all involved personally,” he said.

Kim Lillegard, a longtime family friend, said she came racing across town when she heard where the fire was located to be sure everyone was all right.

“The community is taking care of Harley,” she said.

Lynn O’Connor, another family friend, was nearby checking on Adamson and his home to monitor firefighters’ progress.

Adamson’s late wife, Ruth, was known for her collections of rare dolls and butterflies. O’Connor smiled as she remembered “the butterfly lady.”

She said Adamson had kept much of his wife’s collection in the home.

“It, seriously, was like a museum in there,” she said.

The fire originated in a portion of the home that had been a garage and was converted into a living space. The structure where the blaze began was connected to the rest of the house by a breezeway.

Lillegard said she often joins Adamson on his walks to the fire station.

“He’s a special guy. It’s just a really sad thing,” Lillegard said.

Firefighters were working on overhauling the fire as late as 9 p.m. Monday. Schumacher said someone had driven into Aberdeen to buy plastic totes to safeguard any possessions that were salvaged.

“The least we can do is try to preserve as many belongings as possible,” he said.

One Montesano firefighter was injured while working on the fire, Rux said. His injuries were minor and he was released from the hospital Monday night.

“He’s doing fine,” Rux said.

The damage to the structure and its contents has been estimated at $300,000. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Firefighters from the Montesano Fire Department and Grays Harbor Fire District 2 worked on the fire. Montesano Police officers and Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office deputies helped contain the scene. Grays Harbor PUD and Cascade Natural Gas also responded.

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