COURTESY PHOTO, Valley Regional Fire Authority

COURTESY PHOTO, Valley Regional Fire Authority

Area crews extinguish abandoned house fire

Firefighters from Valley Regional, South King Fire and Puget Sound Fire and King County Medic One were on scene of a abandoned house fire at 601 M St. NE on Monday.

The roof structure of the vacant, boarded up house between Green Field, the baseball diamond in the northeast corner of Fulmer Field and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.was not sound, making it unsafe for firefighters to enter. At that point, fire crews restricted their efforts to keeping the fire from spreading to nearby trees and allowed the house burn down.

Kimberly Terhune, public information officer for the VRFA, said no one was in the house at the time, and no one was hurt.

Because the house burned to the ground, Terhune said, it’s highly unlikely fire investigators will ever find what ignited the fire.

The abandoned house had kicked up concern among several nearby homeowners and businesses in 2018 when a California developer, the Mittman Family Trust, which had first proposed to settle an assisted living facility on the .78-acre site, changed its mind in favor of an enhanced services facility or ESF.

ESFs, which are relatively new to the state of Washington, are for people who have completed their treatment in a state or local psychiatric hospital and are ready to transition to the community, according to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), which oversees ESFs.

Among the requirements for patient admission, according to the DSHS are aggressive, threatening, or assaultive behaviors that put residents or staff at risk and are frequent or difficult to manage, a history of offenses against a person or felony offenses that created substantial damage to property; a history of unsuccessful placements or rejected applications for admission to other licensed facilities.

In a call to the Auburn Reporter in June 2019, one of the site’s neighbors noted that she wasn’t necessarily objecting to such a facility coming to Auburn, what she wanted most of all was for Auburn residents to get a chance to weigh in on the proposal.

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