6 departments fight 12-hour battle with flames fire

Firefighters battled a blaze throughout the night on Thursday in Smith River.

The top floor of the two-story house at 111 Dean Lane, next to Highway 101 in Smith River, became engulfed in flames at 3:48 p.m.

Smith River Fire Chief Glenn Hill said there were 10andndash;12 kids from 5 months to 22 years old at the home when the fire started. Ron and Becky Simpson, who lived at the house, were away celebrating their anniversary but quickly got home after the fire began.

"One of the children went upstairs and felt the heat in the hallway," Hill said. "They opened the door to the bedroom and everything was on fire."

The fire started in the upstairs bedroom, the cause is currently unknown.

No one was injured in the fire, according to Hill, who said he was one of the first on the scene. Everyone was out of the house by the time the fire department arrived, he said.

Smith River Fire Protection Department was the first on the scene, but they were quickly joined by Fort Dick, Harbor, Crescent, Pelican Bay and Del Norte County fire departments.

Together, they battled the flames until about 3 a.m., Hill said.

"It was long and nasty," he said. "We were able to save the garage and a lot of stuff out of the bottom."

The fire also slowed traffic on Highway 101 for several hours.

"We had to shut down the south lane and the passing lane, so it was down to one lane," Hill said.

The Red Cross also showed up at the scene Thursday to help the Simpsons find somewhere to stay for a while.

"They were a big help in getting the family cleared off the scene and finding them housing," Hill said.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.