BRINNON — Jefferson County — Officials are calling the explosion that left a family of five from Monroe dead in this community on Hood Canal early Sunday morning a “tragic accident.”
Jefferson County Prosecutor and Coroner Mike Haas identified the parents as Jenny L. Drake and Jerry A. Drake, both 42. They were at the cabin with their their three children, ages 11, 8 and 2.
Brinnon Fire Chief Tim Manly told reporters Monday afternoon the cause of the fire has not been determined. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating.
“Everybody is in shock right now,” Manly said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.”
He said autopsies are planned at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday.
“There’s no reason to suspect foul play at this time, but we need to make sure we do a thorough job to make sure nothing improper occurred and to the extent we can, to figure out what happened so we can prevent this type of tragedy from occurring in the future,” Haas said.
Manly said the family regularly vacationed at the 250-square-foot cabin on Salmon Street in Brinnon and were known in the neighborhood.
Jason Chudy, with ATF, said he couldn’t give a timeline for the investigation. He referred all questions to Jefferson County Undersheriff Art Frank, who did not return phone calls Monday.
“The follow-up will likely take weeks to complete,” Frank said in an email.
Manly said neighbors reported the fire at about 1 a.m. Sunday. They said they heard an explosion and saw flames shooting into the air.
A neighbor reported hearing a hissing noise before the explosion, Manly said. Investigators found a blown five-gallon propane tank, but it wasn’t clear whether the fire was caused by the tank.
The bodies were found inside.
This story first appeared in the Peninsula Daily News, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.