ROY, Wash. - Residents in Pierce County are back in their homes after evacuating from a wildfire outside of Roy on Thursday afternoon.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said the fire started near 86th & 336th Street S., just before 1 p.m. Spokesperson Darren Moss said the blaze began in the corner of a field and spread rapidly. He said residents from about 40 homes were asked to evacuate.
George Weber said he had little time to try to evacuate his beloved trio of goats, his dog and his fishing boat before the fire was nearing his rural neighborhood.
"They all have runny noses from the smoke, but they are OK, and I’m glad of that," said Weber about his goats.
"It’s something in the back of your mind, but you hope it never happens," said Weber. "But half a block away, my goodness, the possibility of losing everything you have in your life."
Weber said that he was notified around 2:00 p.m. that the fire was on a collision course with his house, so he packed what he could and drove into town, struggling to breathe because of the smoke.
"Went into a business there, and they gave me a couple bottles of water," he said.
Meantime, fire crews were working hard to stop the fire.
"When DNR got there, they saw the fire up on top the hill, and they immediately start running down the hill, 15-foot flames," said Moss.
Helicopters made water drops on the fire throughout the afternoon. Neighbors Selina Weber and Savannah Creamer caught portions of the aerial attack on the fire on cell phone video.
"There was a lot of smoke, and it was really hard to see," said Creamer.
She said she also was forced to rush home from work to help her family evacuate.
"I was more worried about my cat that was still in the house and my little brother," she said.
As for what caused the fire, Moss said that’s still under investigation.
"The initial call came in saying that the fire was started by fireworks, and the person who called was the one who set it off. Sounds like we, us or Fire, has contacted that individual, and they were saying, ‘I didn’t start the fire, but I believed it was started by fireworks,’ tried to put it out, and it got bigger and called 911," said Moss.
By the end of the evening, smoke still hung heavy in the air, but residents were able to return to their homes thanks to fire crews.
"I’m very thankful for them, coming in and doing what they do," said Creamer.
"We were thankful when we came back the situation was a little bit better than when we left," said Weber.