Candidate’s home destroyed

It was supposed to be Darcy Burner’s day for rest and relaxation.

Darcy Burner, family safe; campaign to continue

It was supposed to be Darcy Burner’s day for rest and relaxation.

Instead, it was a day of devastation and near death, caused by a “faulty lamp.”

The Eighth Congressional District candidate vowed that her campaign will move forward as she deals with the loss of her Ames Lake home, which was destroyed by a fast-moving fire early Tuesday, July 1.

“She feels real lucky to be alive,” said Sandeep Kaushik, Burner’s campaign spokesperson. “That house is devastated.”

But despite the setback, Burner said she doesn’t have any intention of bowing out of her race against U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert. The Eighth District includes Bellevue and the rest of the Eastside in addition to the mostly rural eastern parts of King and Pierce counties. Burner, 37, a former Microsoft project manager, barely lost to Reichert by three percentage points in 2006.

“Anyone who knows me also knows that I do not give up easily and I am certainly not going to give up now,” Burner said.

The night before the fire broke out, Burner was working late at her home, which is located on the 3600 block of West Ames Lake Road between Redmond and Carnation, finalizing her fundraising efforts for the quarter. She planned to take the next day off and spend time with her husband, Mike, and 5-year-old son, Henry,

“She was going to sleep in and spend time with the family, take time away from the campaign,” Kaushik said.

Instead Burner awoke sometime between 7 and 7:30 a.m. to her son screaming “the house is on fire.”

Burner said the fire was apparently caused by a “faulty lamp in my son’s room.”

Investigators confirmed the blaze that destroyed Burner’s daylight-basement rambler was caused by a malfunctioning electrical device inside Henry’s room, according to Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

“It was determined accidental,” Urquhart said. “It was not arson.”

Henry was awakened by a smoke alarm and ran into his parents’ room, and woke them up as the flames began to spread.

Mike initially tried to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher as Darcy and Henry escaped, but the flames were too strong and moving too fast, Urquhart said.

Mike soon retreated as flames poured over the house.

“They were able to get out, but just barely,” Urquhart said.

Henry saves the day

Afterward, Burner credited her alert son for saving their lives.

“Unfortunately, our home and all of the possessions in it are a total loss,” Burner said. “But I am so grateful that my family and I escaped safely.”

Several nearby fire departments, including Redmond, quickly responded to the fire alarm.

The fire was so fierce, firefighters could not enter the unstable house, according to Ed Carolan, the on-duty Redmond Fire Department battalion chief.

“The fire started in the basement and quickly worked its way upstairs,” said Carolan, who added that the hot, dry weather also contributed to the fast-moving flames.

To make matters worse, access to the house was tight and several flamable 100-foot fir trees surrounded the house, according to Carolan. Some of the branches did get scorched, but firefighters worked hard to make sure the fire did not spread to nearby homes.

Firefighters were able to rescue the family dog, Bruce Wayne, a 7-month-old golden retriever, but a pet cat, Charlotte, died in the fire.

Henry was taken to the home of some close friends right after the family fled the burning home.

“You always hope for a better outcome,” Carolan said. “The house got really beat up. There were a lot of personal possessions in there.”

Ready to bounce back

Burner said she plans to take a break from campaigning so she can get her life in order. She cancelled all of her weekend plans, including participating in the Carnation Fourth of July parade.

Burner said her family is “holding up well,” after they spent Tuesday night with close friends in Redmond.

“Mike and I have begun the long process of restoring what we lost,” Burner said. “I bought a new pair of glasses and we visited the Value Village in Redmond to buy some clothes.

“Mike and I are working on replacing our driver’s license, credit cards and other critical items that were lost in the fire.”

Burner and her family will arrange temporary housing while they rebuild their home, which was insured. The rebuilding could take up to a year, she said.

Burner said she will get back into the campaign swing of things gradually.

“It will take a few weeks at least to deal with all the issues, but I expect to return to a limited campaign schedule sometime next week,” she said.

Darcy thanked firefighters for their quick response along with neighbors and friends for their undying support.