BRINNON — Officials are calling the explosion that left a family of five dead in Brinnon early Sunday morning a “tragic accident.”
Brinnon Fire Chief Tim Manly told reporters Monday afternoon the cause of the fire has not yet been determined and that the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still investigating the cause of the fire.
“Everybody is in shock right now,” Manly said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this.”
The identities of the parents and their three children have not been released, but Manly said they regularly vacationed at the 250-square-foot cabin on the 600 block of Salmon Street in Brinnon.
Some media outlets initially reported that the family was not allowed on the property. Manly said it was the family’s property, but he was aware of some confusion about the physical address of the property. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office also addressed the discrepancy.
He said neighbors reported at about 1 a.m. Sunday that they heard an explosion and that they saw flames shooting into the air.
When firefighters arrived they discovered the fully engulfed cabin and took a defensive posture.
During overhaul firefighters found the bodies of one adult and one child and immediately contacted the Washington State Crime Lab and ATF.
The bodies of two children and the other parent were found later in the day when investigators returned to the site, he said.
It was determined that the fire is not suspicious, but because of the seriousness of the incident Manly said he wanted to get state and federal officials involved.
“The suspicion is always in the back of our mind, but we need to make sure,” he said.
Manly said the news has hit the community hard and that he is thankful for the support the community has given to its first responders and the concern he has seen for the victims.
Fire departments that responded include the Brinnon Fire Department, Quilcene Fire Rescue, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue, Discovery Bay Fire Rescue, Port Ludlow Fire Rescue and a unit from Mason County.