By Rikki King Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — They ran outside in their pajamas and bare feet.
Then, flames consumed their farmhouse.
Several generations of the Bartelheimer family huddled together late Tuesday morning, watching as firefighters battled the blaze in the two-story red-brick home. Children’s toys dotted the front lawn, and broken glass spewed from the windows.
The fire broke out about 7:15 a.m. at the former Bartelheimer dairy farm along 92nd Street SE in the Snohomish area, just south of U.S. 2.
The house was a total loss, Snohomish fire Capt. Marty Fowler said. The damage was estimated at $350,000.
The fire started when the oil furnace in the basement malfunctioned, according to the Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Jason Bartelheimer and his family were sleeping when they heard the smoke alarms, he said.
Fire crews were still on the scene when friends and neighbors came out to help.
Bartelheimer’s parents, who live nearby, took the children inside, out of the cold, he said. Someone offered the family an empty apartment to stay in. The American Red Cross sent people to help.
Once the worst of the blaze was over, firefighters were able to retrieve a few of the family’s belongings.
The kitchen was the farthest from the fire, so the family’s car keys and wallets were recovered.
Firefighters later were able to save some pictures and documents, battalion chief Mike Gatterman said. Crews from Monroe and Clearview also helped fight the fire.
The family already had seen tough times in recent years. Like many dairies, they were hurt by low milk prices and the high cost of feed.
They auctioned off 800 cows in December, along with tractors and other farm equipment.
The Bartelheimers did have insurance on the house. They hoped an agent could come out as early as Wednesday.
In the hours after the fire, they weren’t sure what to expect next.