Smoke billowing above the trees on Dundas Road east of Crescent City marked the second tragedy for a local family this week.
Chris Beck stood at 1601 Dundas Road on Friday afternoon staring toward his residence, which was gutted by flames.
He said he left the house around noon to go to the Patriot Gas Station on U.S. Highway 101, and got a call 10 minutes later.
"My neighbor called saying, 'your house is hella on fire,'" said Beck.
When Beck rushed back, "it was just flaming."
Fire crews from Crescent Fire Protection District, Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department, Fort Dick Fire Protection District and Pelican Bay State Prison's inmate fire team responded and within 10 minutes most of the flames were extinguished. They spent the next few hours hosing down smaller fires that kept igniting throughout the house.
Beck lost two of his dogs and four cats, but the rest of his family was fine.
Beck suspects the fire was arson that might stem from a previous dispute with someone he knows. The Sheriff's Office is investigating, said sheriff's Commander Bill Steven.
"What happened is what happened," said Beck. "I'll rebuild."
The fire comes four days afterhis brother-in-law, William McDonald, drowned in the Smith River at the Peacock Bar swimming hole near Walker Road.
McDonald was also a lifelong friend of Beck.
McDonald is survived by his two sons, two daughters and a stepson.
His widow, Teresa Beals-McDonald, was sitting in the front yard watching firefighters stamp out hot embers in the smoke-filled rubble that was once Beck's home.
"I'm afraid to ask what will happen next," she said.
Reach Anthony Skeens at firstname.lastname@example.org.