January fire on Country Woods Road is still being investigated; faulty Christmas lights 'not the cause'

KINGSTON — The Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s office continues to investigate a fire that extensively damaged a home on 11611 Country Woods Road in Kingston early Jan. 16.

According to the Jan. 21 North Kitsap Herald, a remotely monitored fire alarm in the house activated at 12:30 a.m., prompting a response by North Kitsap Fire & Rescue. Firefighters extinguished flames on the first floor. Fire damage was limited to the downstairs but heat and smoke affected the entire house.

No one was home when the fire occurred; homeowners Marcus and Tonya Croman and their children were staying with friends nearby, lead fire investigator Tina Turner said Tuesday.

Investigators initially reported that faulty Christmas lights and a dry Christmas tree were responsible for the fire. “That was the first initial but it doesn’t appear to be the cause,” Turner said.

Turner said she could not comment on the investigation, other than, “We are still pursuing leads and interviewing people ... The fire is being investigated as a suspicious fire at this time."

The length of the investigation is unusual. Investigations are usually concluded “the same day or next couple of days,” she said. “But we have cases that are open.”

Tonya Croman said Tuesday that the house is just now being rebuilt. "We’re not living in the house now; it’s gutted to the studs,” she said. They had fire insurance coverage when the fire occurred.

The Cromans are well known in Kingston. They own Cuppa Bella Bagelry & Espresso Cafe and founded Kingston Rescue Mission in early 2010 to distribute meals and supplies to local homeless people. Marcus Croman is ordained by the Universal Life Church. He ran for Port of Eglon Commission District 3 in 2009, receiving 113 votes to Joyce McClain’s 304.


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