Parents of Granisle fire victim waiting for answers

Larry and Eleanor Carlson are looking for answers after their son Duane, 46, died alone in an April 27 fire in Granisle.

Larry and Eleanor Carlson are looking for answers after their son Duane, 46, died alone in a trailer fire just three doors down from their own home in Granisle.

Police ruled the fire accidental.

Duane leaves behind three children, ages 1, 4, and 9, who live with their mother in Houston.

Larry Carlson says he doubts his son’s woodstove is to blame for the fire that started April 27 around 6 a.m.

“The thing is, he’s been around woodstoves since he was as tall as a wood stove,” Carlson said, noting that neighbours who phoned 911 that morning also saw no smoke rising from Duane’s chimney.

Carlson, a former Kitsault fire chief, says scorch marks around the wiring going to Duane’s trailer suggest the fire was electrical.

“The line going to the trailer was very, very tight,” he said. “Duane used to complain. He said, ‘Dad, when the wind blows, I can hear it pulling on the trailer and screeching.’”

A fire commissioner and a coroner are still investigating, but said Duane most likely died from inhaling fire smoke.

His body was found 15 feet from the trailer door, with his dog’s body lying in a running position just behind him.

“The fire commissioner said that’s all it takes,” Carlson said. “You get a deep breath of that and then you want to suck more because you’re not getting any oxygen.”

Duane had both fire and carbon monoxide alarms installed, but his parents say he was extra vulnerable to inhaling smoke because he had no sense of smell.

Back in Kitsault, when Duane was just eight or nine years old, Larry Carlson recalls what that lack of smell meant for the family laundry.

“He caught this great big salmon and was hugging it— he’d stink like heck and his mom would say, ‘Hey, you smell!’”

“She washed his clothes, but every time she ironed them you could smell that damn fish,” he said, laughing.

“But he was so proud.”