Lit joint caused fire that destroyed two Pullman homes, displaced students

Pullman House Fire
Courtesy of Whitman County Watch

PULLMAN, Wash. — A wildfire that destroyed two student houses and burned a half-acre of brush in Pullman was caused by two people smoking a joint, the fire inspector said Tuesday.

Fire inspector Tony Nuttman, Fire Marshal Chris Wehrung and Darren Jones of WSU Fire Services conducted several interviews which led them to this conclusion.

They say the Washington State University students who lived at the house on Maple Street were away at the time, and two visitors from Colorado were smoking a joint on the back deck when embers were swept to a nearby couch on the porch, which caught fire.

Winds as strong as 30 mph quickly fueled the flames, spreading it to the wooden deck, and then the entire house. Those winds also picked up embers and sent them to a nearby house and setting it on fire, as well.

The students returned to the Maple Street home saw the fire, got everyone out of the house and tried to put the flames out with a fire extinguisher, but it was too late.

Both homes were destroyed and deemed uninhabitable.

WSU student housing and the American Red Cross are working with the 12 students to provide housing. None of the students had renters’ insurance.

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