SMOKEY POINT — In a dim motel room, Bill Sarazin, 63, sat shirtless on one of two beds, holding a damp washcloth to where his right leg used to be.
Lorraine Sarazin, who turned 83 Wednesday, sat next to her double-amputee son. She picked up a photograph of her late husband, Norman Sarazin. The print, still in good condition, was pulled from a melted, metal frame that once sat in the back bedroom of her home.
For both, the pain was overwhelming.
The family lost almost everything when a fire destroyed their home in Marysville in late November. Now Lorraine, Bill and Bill’s son and brother are homeless.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble in the family,” Lorraine Sarazin said. “When you get older, you expect to eventually have a good life.”
Investigators believe an improperly installed wood stove sparked the blaze just before 9:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at the home in the 15200 block of Smokey Point Boulevard. Lorraine and her husband, who died of cancer in 1991, used to run an antiques store from the home, which decades ago was a restaurant.
Now the family is living at the Smokey Point Motor Inn, about a mile from their burned-out home. Their small motel room is packed with boxes and baskets of clothing and other supplies donated by Snohomish County Red Cross, nurses, family and friends.
The timing of the fire could not have been worse.
Bill Sarazin, a former auto wrecker whose legs have been amputated because of circulation problems, underwent surgery in October to have the last of his right leg removed. The surgical wound became infected, and he was recovering in a portable hospital bed at his mother’s home.
He is in near-constant pain and requires daily medical attention from nurses.
“It’s all difficult, ain’t none of it easy,” said Bill, who served in the Navy during the early 1960s.
Bill was in his wheelchair in the kitchen when the fire started. He heard loud booming noises, then saw bright flashes and sparks flying from the walls.
“I was sitting there in shock, watching it get bigger, and there was nothing I could do about it,” he said.
Lorraine called 911 from the house phone – which still worked – and then went outside in the cold rain.
Jeff Sarazin, 34, Bill’s son, immediately emptied a large fire extinguisher onto the flames. When that didn’t work, he emptied out a second extinguisher. Then he ran outside and grabbed the garden hose.
As he battled the growing blaze, he began to realize he wouldn’t be able to save his family’s home, he said.
“I’ve never been in a house while it was on fire, and I didn’t realize how hot it would get so quickly,” he said.
Ted Sarazin, Bill’s 65-year-old brother, was out playing Bingo when the fire happened.
Good fortune smiled upon the Sarazins when a team of Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Explorers saw the fire as they drove home from a training class. The Explorers, ages 15 to 18, helped take the Sarazins a safe distance from the blaze.
Since then, Jeff Sarazin has spent most of his free time trying to salvage whatever he can from the ruined home. He found the photo of Norman, and he also found a gold watch that belongs to Bill.
The items saved do not compare to all that was lost, Jeff says.
Lorraine’s favorite Bible was destroyed in the blaze. So were several decorative plates that were given to her by one of her sisters, who died a few years ago. Jeff has decided not to tell his family how much stuff he’s had to throw away.
“I lost a lot of nice things I’ve had for years,” Lorraine said. “You can imagine, everything is destroyed.”
Bill’s other son, Todd, who lives in Seattle, is helping the family look for a new place to live.
It could have ended worse, Lorraine said. Had Jeff not seen the fire right away, she may have gone back to her bedroom, where she might have been trapped by the flames.
“We got out with our lives, anyway,” she said.
Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or email@example.com.