LYNNWOOD — A man’s body was found in the garage of a burning house Wednesday morning north of Lynnwood.
Firefighters raced to the home at 7:30 a.m., when a thick black column of smoke could be seen for miles billowing from the wooded property. They struggled to access the split-level home. On all sides it’s surrounded by trees, thickets of blackberry vines and dense brush.
The house already was engulfed in flames when the engines arrived.
Ten minutes after the 911 call, fire crews started to spray water, said Leslie Hynes, spokeswoman for South Snohomish County Fire and Rescue. Seconds later they backed off. Witnesses reported they’d heard sounds — explosions, fireworks or gunshots — coming from the home.
“Right about when we got on the scene we started receiving reports that there might be somebody with a gun,” Hynes said. “Those were unconfirmed reports.”
Sheriff’s deputies were called in to make sure the home was safe to approach. Meanwhile, the man texted a neighbor to say he was in the garage with a gun, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
“We believed the lone occupant was armed, and the house was fully engulfed,” said Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. “We could not send personnel in safely.”
The house continued to burn.
The man was found dead inside a car parked in the garage. His name hasn’t been released. In the texts he discussed suicide, Ireton said. However, how he died hasn’t been confirmed. The cause of death will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A note was discovered at the home.
“We believe it might be a suicide note,” Ireton said.
Firefighters were able to resume battling the flames at 8:12 a.m. The fire devoured most of the gabled roof and ate holes into walls. Wispy gray smoke was rising from the home in mid-morning, behind a row of two-story houses. Remnants of the house continued to smolder for hours.
Meanwhile, less than a quarter-mile away, parents dropped off kids at Lake Stickney Elementary School.
The one-acre property is hidden from nearby streets. The house was built in the early 1980s, according to county records. It’s about 20 feet lower in elevation compared to other newer homes in the neighborhood. At first officials thought the fire was in the woods, Hynes said. Fire crews rolled out hundreds of feet of hose to reach the home.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.