House burns during Tulalip family memorial

TULALIP — They already lost so much.

On Monday, a fire took more.

Family and friends, mourning the death of a loved one, were planning to break bread together on Monday afternoon when a fire broke out.

The fire ripped through the single-story house in the 900 block of Marine Drive on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Flames shot through the roof and a large, black plume of smoke was seen from miles around.

About 10 people were inside. They all escaped without injuries.

They clung to each other on Monday, watching firefighters douse the flames.

“Thank the Lord they’re all safe. We can replace stuff. We can’t replace them,” said Don Hatch, who was just arriving to help with funeral preparations.

As part of American Indian culture, relatives and friends gather for meals in the days leading up to a funeral as a way to support each other, he said.

“We come together to take care of each other,” Hatch said.

A tent had been set up just outside the house on Monday. Relatives and friends planned to have lunch together.

The family also had collected together dozens of pictures of their relative to create a video they planned to show at her funeral later this week, Hatch said.

Those pictures were sitting on table inside the house.

“It was almost like a dream,” Hatch said. “The flames were so high. It went up so fast.”

When Tulalip Bay firefighters arrived the house was engulfed by the fire.

Crews unrolled about 1,500 feet of hose to reach the nearest fire hydrant on Marine Drive.

Initially firefighters entered the house to battle the blaze but crews were forced to retreat for fear that the metal roof might collapse, Getchell Fire District 22 Chief Travis Hots said.

The fire appears to have been accidental and may have started near a pantry, Tulalip Police Chief Scott Smith said.

An investigator with the Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office arrived as fire crews were dousing the remaining hot spots.

Six people were displaced by the fire.

Plans were underway to help them with lodging. And as fire crews were cleaning up, friends and relatives were finding another place to break bread on Monday.

“It’s a lot of hurt,” Hatch said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

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