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Originally published October 8, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Page modified October 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM

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3 homes damaged in Laurelhurst blaze

An explosion at a lakefront home under construction in Seattle's Laurelhurst neighborhood caused a massive fire that spread to other homes in the neighborhood.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A $3.6 million lakeside home under construction in Seattle's Laurelhurst neighborhood exploded into flames Monday afternoon.

After the fire spread to two adjacent homes, embers started a small brush fire on a nearby hillside, according to Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore. Embers from the brush fire landed on three other homes on Northeast Latimer Place but were quickly doused by firefighters.

Altogether, about 100 fire personnel swarmed the neighborhood to control the fire, Moore said.

Two painters inside the house at 5131 N.E. Laurelcrest Lane told firefighters they thought a furnace had exploded at about 3:30 p.m. One of them suffered facial burns and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. He was reported to be in stable condition, Moore said.

Medics also took two firefighters to Harborview, one for heat exhaustion and one for a minor injury, he said.

Neighbors and other workers nearby said the sound of the explosion stunned them.

"We heard a loud boom," said Alfredo Ramirez, who was painting about three houses down from the explosion. "It felt like my hair was going to blow out of my head."

Lee Price, 79, rushed to check on his granddaughter's home, which was next to the lakefront homes that caught fire. Laurelcrest Lane was closed, but neighbors let Price see from their backyard that the granddaughter's house was OK.

That wasn't the case for the home immediately south of the blast, which Moore said was extensively damaged.

The home where the fire started is owned by Adam and Laura (Szlyk) Selipsky. Adam Selipsky is listed on LinkedIn as vice president of marketing, sales, support at Amazon.com Web Services.

Reached by phone late Monday, Laura Selipsky said she was busy with contractors and could not talk, saying only, "I think the fire is out, and I think everyone is doing OK," she said.

The home to the south of the Selipsky property, at 5129 N.E. Laurelcrest Lane, was built in 2008, and has a county appraised value of $5.7 million. It is owned by Jeffrey Hussey, according to county records.

The home to the north, which was not damaged as extensively, is at 5135 N.E. Laurelcrest Lane, and its appraised value is $4.4 million. The owner, according to county records, is Georgina Trask.

Plenty of oxygen circulating in the open spaces of the Selipsky home, which was about two months from being finished, fueled the initial fire and made it especially intense, Moore said.

Although no kind of weather can keep an explosion from igniting a home, Seattle fire spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said the recent dry weather played a part in the fire's spread to nearby brush.

"We're definitely conscious of how long it's been since it's rained, and when you've got brush involved, that makes a difference, too," she said.

Times staff reporters Amy Martinez and Katherine Long contributed to this report.

Alexa Vaughn: 206-464-2515 or avaughn@seattletimes.com.

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