Training Fire in Whatcom County North of Bellingham, WA


***Update: Discovered the Whatcom Sheriff’s report about the arrest of two former residents on the home. Follow the link at the end of the blog.

On my way to shoot a soccer game, I notice a column of thick black smoke rising in the distance. Being the fire chaser I am, I noticed it was on the way to the game.

Watching the Show:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Several Whatcom County firefighters take a rest as they monitor a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Several Whatcom County firefighters take a rest as they monitor a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

As I drove, I turned on my scanner app on my phone and tried listening to see if I can pinpoint the address. I didn’t hear anything so I drove along the main routes towards the rising column.

Letting it Burn:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A house and garage go up in flames during a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A house and garage go up in flames during a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

As I drove north on Cordata Parkway, I could tell it was east of Guide Meridian and north of Horton Road. So first chance I had, I headed east towards Meridian then headed north. As I was driving north, the column was becoming thicker and more pronounced. Still nothing on the scanner.

Watching the Show:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A woman holds her child while watching a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A woman holds her child while watching a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

When I reached Kline Road, the column was directly to my right so I turned. About 3/4 of a mile down the road, I saw cars lined up along the road and a sign stating it was a training fire for the fire department. I stopped and shot a few frames, nothing really important. But my two favorite ones are the three firefighters kicking back watching and the woman holding her child as they watch the structure burn.

Monitoring the Blaze:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A Whatcom County firefighter monitors a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A Whatcom County firefighter monitors a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

 While I was shooting, I asked a few people about the house. In other training fires I photographed, the houses donated to the fire department are condemned and will be torn down. This particular house had an alleged meth lab in the garage and the house smelled so bad  of  chemicals the materials are not salvagable. I’ll keep you posted when I find out more.

Here’s the link to the report on the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office website concerning the home: Two Arrested for Methamphetamine Distribution

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Paul “pablo” Conrad
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