Published on February 25th, 2016 | by The Kitsap Scene


Victims in Port Orchard House Explosion Identified


Courtesy of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office – Investigators walk through the scene of a house explosion near Port Orchard.

The victims of a house explosion in Port Orchard on Tuesday were identified today by the Kitsap County Coroner.

The victims were identified as William Burch McDonald, 70, and Maria Cruz McDonald, 65.

The house — a triple-wide manufactured home — exploded around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday in the 3500 block of Southeast Soholt Lane about three miles south of the Port Orchard city limits, according to a press release from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

The coroner is responsible for making a determination as to the cause and manner of death of persons who die within jurisdictional boundaries of Kitsap County; that determination is pending further laboratory testing, according to the release

The Kitsap County Fire Marshal is the lead investigator in determining the basis of the explosion, specifically the substance that caused the explosion and the source of ignition, the release states. Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives do not believe the explosion is the result of criminal actions, according to the  release.

Results of the fire marshal’s investigation will be announced separately by that office.

An earlier press release stated that the Fire Marshal was investigating with sheriff’s detectives, as well as agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The force and sound produced by the explosion generated more than 550 calls to 911 dispatch within 30 minutes, according to the release.

Some callers reported hearing the explosion from more than 20 miles away.

The release describes what happened from there as follows:

Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene around 4:24 a.m. to find the residence leveled to the ground and engulfed by fire. Emergency crews from South Kitsap Fire and Rescue arrived at 4:27 a.m. to put out the fire and make the scene safe for investigators.

“Sheriff’s and fire first responders described the scene as total devastation with the entire structure flattened and construction material found hanging at significant heights in surrounding trees,” the release states.

The explosion caused minimal damage to other homes in the area, consisting of broken windows or doors. It also caused minor damage to Mullenix Ridge Elementary School, which is located north of the scene.

South Kitsap School District performed repairs on the school and classes started on schedule.

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