The body of a 52-year-old Blaine resident was found after the
trailer he was sleeping in burned last week at the Birch Bay RV Resort.
Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel said Eric Ness died from a lack of oxygen and smoke inhalation.
Whatcom County Sheriff Department spokesperson Jeff Parks said Ness had purchased a 1963 25-foot travel trailer from a Canadian resident the day before and had slept in it overnight.
Fire and Rescue firefighters and deputies arrived to a structure fire
at about 3:15 a.m. in the 800 block of Harborview Road and were able to
extinguish the flames by 3:45 a.m., after which they found a body in
what appeared to be the bedroom area.
Parks added that NWFRS officials are continuing to investigate what caused the fire but have no reason to suspect foul play. The trailer had not been hooked up to electricity and Ness may have been using a different heat source to keep warm.
“I don’t think we have anything definitive but there was nothing that has pointed us in the direction of any foul play,” he said.
Tracy Hall, a friend of the family who lived near them while the family was building a new home in Blaine, said Ness bought the trailer for an undisclosed amount of money and was remodeling it into a space for guests when he probably got tired and decided to spend the night in it.
Hall, who had recently been suffering from breast cancer, said Ness was the kind of person to always lend a hand.
“Everything I needed help with, he was always there to make sure it got done,” she said. “He was a good man; it’s just not fair.”
She added the family had recently finished building their home and moved into it about six months ago.
His wife is employed with Verizon Wireless.
“This has just been horrible,” she said. “By 5 p.m. he had bought a trailer and by 3 a.m. the next morning he was dead.
“He left behind a wife and three kids and now, because of this, they will probably lose their home. ”
How to help
Hall said she has opened a benefit account for the family at People’s Bank, under the name Eric Ness Family Benefit.