Thursday, July 03, 2008

Other Fires.....Other Rooms.

This is a report about my friend Darcy Burner's escape from a fire...... in Seattle of all places. How can Seattle burn? Is mildew flammable?

Darcy is a geek....a former Microsoft geek at that. She is running for Congress as a progressive against a well funded Republican.

Darcy had my favorite political ad this year......where her staff tries to get her a modern haircut.....and the stylist turns out to be John Tester from Montana. If you don't get the joke......well, fuck off. Pay more attention. I am amused....but then, I am a geek.

I firmly believe that how people react under extreme stress reveals their inner character. Therefore.....check out Darcy, ten minutes after saving her 5 year old and husband from a fire that destroyed her house.

Oh.....her t-shirt is XML for "End War".

At 7am, fresh from saving her family.

Oh, and the dog.

Darcy is a geek.....a Warrior Geek! EndWarrior Geek.

Send her 25 bucks: Darcy Burner for Congress.

From the Seattle Times:

Screams of Burner's son led to family's escape

A fire Tuesday morning destroyed the home of Darcy Burner, Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District, along the shore of Ames Lake east of Redmond.

Seattle Times staff reporters

When Darcy Burner's Ames Lake home caught fire Tuesday morning, she, her husband, Mike, and their 5-year-old son, Henry, were asleep. Fire investigators said the blaze was caused by a malfunctioning electrical device.

Darcy Burner, right, gets a hug from neighbor Nina Ramsey after fire engulfed the Burner home on Tuesday. Burner is running for Congress in the 8th District.


Darcy Burner, right, gets a hug from neighbor Nina Ramsey after fire engulfed the Burner home on Tuesday. Burner is running for Congress in the 8th District.

Looking into the black, collapsed interior of her home along the shore of Ames Lake on Tuesday, congressional candidate Darcy Burner was matter-of-fact.

"I'd say it's pretty much a total loss, based on the smoldering remains," she said. "We lost stuff. It's just stuff. The boy is fine. The husband is fine."

Burner, her husband and their 5-year-old son were home asleep when the 7 a.m. fire broke out, but they escaped unharmed.

She is in a tight race in the 8th Congressional District against U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, who narrowly won re-election in a 2006 contest with Burner. The campaign will go on as Burner picks up the pieces and copes with the details of her loss, her spokesman, Sandeep Kaushik, said.

"I am today focused on my family and just really grateful that my family is OK," Burner said. "Tomorrow I'll wake up and figure out what comes next."

Fire investigators said the blaze was caused by a malfunctioning electrical device that was plugged into an outlet in a bedroom, said Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff's Office. Burner said a faulty lamp in her son's room apparently was to blame.

Burner said she and her husband, Mike, were awakened Tuesday morning by their son.

"Henry came into our room screaming there was a fire," she said. "I scooped him up and got him out of the house. The fire started in his room. He did everything right."

The family slept in adjoining bedrooms on the lower floor of the daylight-basement rambler on the west shore of Ames Lake, east of Redmond in unincorporated King County.

Built in 1960, the home had been extensively remodeled. Although Burner had not yet met with insurance representatives on Tuesday, she said she considered the home destroyed.

The Burners bought the 2,240-square-foot house in 2002 for $550,000, and this year the King County Assessor's Office valued it at $500,000 for tax purposes. Tax valuations are usually less than market value.

Fire investigators did not enter the building Tuesday because the floor joists had been weakened by the flames and water, said Capt. Frank Glaser of the Regional Fire Training Division, a joint operation of Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville fire agencies.

"Thank goodness for smoke detectors," said Glaser. Investigators believe Henry was awakened when smoke alarms sounded, Glaser said.

By itself, the personal tragedy may not affect her campaign, said Ron Dotzauer, a local political consultant not affiliated with Burner's campaign. But voters will be watching to see how she responds, he said.

"She has an opportunity, in some ways, to show some leadership, if you will," he said.

As she spoke with reporters in her yard on Tuesday, Burner took calls from the governor and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Kaushik said.

Reichert's campaign sent out a news release expressing his relief that Burner and her family were safe.

Possessions gone

Interior furnishings were burned beyond recognition, making it impossible, for example, to determine where the kitchen and living room had been. A Honda Civic parked in the garage was covered with debris from the collapsed roof, but a Ford Escape parked outside was undamaged.

"If only we had keys," said Burner, motioning toward the house, where the car keys were somewhere in the debris.

Kaushik said that Burner's initial response was relief at her family's safety. The magnitude of the loss set in throughout the afternoon.

"It's not just the house that they've lost, but all of their possessions, the clothes, purse, ID, family mementos, photos," he said. "All of that stuff is gone, and much of that is irreplaceable."

Burner stood calmly outside the ruins in a gray T-shirt, talking and occasionally hugging friends and neighbors. A woman from across the lake offered the Burners use of a vacant house, complete with linens.

Neighbors credited

"I have amazing neighbors," Burner said.

A 7-month-old golden retriever, named Bruce Wayne, for Batman's alter ego, was rescued by firefighters. They found the dog standing in a pool of water near a window on the ground floor. A pet cat, Charlotte, died.

The family planned to stay with friends in Redmond Tuesday night.

Even hours after the blaze, Burner said she was stunned by how quickly the home was destroyed. She estimated flames reached the roof within 60 seconds.

"If Henry hadn't acted the way he did, there's a good chance we all would have died," she said.

Staff reporter Sonia Krishnan contributed to this story.


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