A Newcastle fire that affected two homes over the weekend might have been caused by a smoldering cigarette butt, according to the Bellevue Fire Department.
One of the homes sustained severe damage, and the second home's roof caught fire from burning embers that were blown by the wind, according to the Bellevue Fire Department.
Twenty-three fire units from Mercer Island, Bellevue, Renton and Eastside Fire and Rescue worked for more than an hour to control the two fires, the Bellevue Fire Department reported.
No one was injured in the Saturday blaze. Damage to the two homes is estimated at a combined $530,000, according to the Bellevue Fire Department.
A neighbor reported the fire after 12:15 p.m., Saturday, after seeing smoke and flames coming from the chimney of her neighbor's house.
Within seven minutes, firefighters arrived in the 8300 block of 128th Avenue Southeast and found heavy flames through the roof, according to the Bellevue Fire Department.
Eventually, firefighters were ordered to evacuate the first house when part of the roof collapsed, according to the fire department.
The cedar shake roof of a second home caught fire from the embers from the first home, according to the Bellevue Fire Department. Firefighters were able to contain that fire to the attic and damage to the interior of that home was minimal, according to the fire department. The residents were able to reoccupy the second house late Saturday evening, the fire department reported.
Damage was estimated at $500,000 to the first house, and about $30,000 to the second house, according to the fire department.
Bellevue investigators have not confirmed the fire's cause, but say it may have started accidentally from a smoldering cigarette butt that was discarded in a plastic container on the back deck of the home.