Kitsap officials identify couple killed in blast

A longtime friend of the people who live in the home destroyed in an explosion talks about his friend.

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. – Authorities have identified the two people who died in a powerful explosion that leveled a home in Port Orchard.
Kitsap County sheriff's Deputy Scott Wilson said the couple is 70-year-old William McDonald and his wife, 65-year-old Maria McDonald.
Their identities will be officially confirmed by the Kitsap County coroner, but Wilson says they have no reason to believe anyone else was in the house when it exploded around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Investigators do not believe a crime was committed but are still working to determine the cause of the explosion.

The first reports came in at 4:10 a.m. from the 3500 block of SE Soholt Lane. 

Kitsap County officials said more than 550 calls came in to 911 - one form Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, 24 miles away.

The explosion happened at a triple-wide manufactured home, according to the sheriff's office. 

"The place is leveled. It's turned into popsicle sticks as to be expected with an explosion of this nature versus one that may have occurred with a traditional stick-built house or one with brick and mortar," said Deputy Scott Wilson, Kitsap County Sheriff's Office. "The force of this explosion blew some of the construction materials, as well as furniture, clothing, insulation, into the nearby trees."

The force of the blast caused windows to shatter at nearby Mullenix Ridge Elementary School. Residents of other nearby homes reported similar damage. Some people as far away as Renton -- on the other side of Puget Sound -- claimed they heard the explosion.

The explosion woke Ron Fitzsimmons and when he heard it was Bill and Maria's house he came to see the scene himself.

"She was getting ready to retire in May, Last day in May. Oh God. I just don't know," he said.

Maria was one of Kitsap Bank's most loyal employees. She worked as a customer service rep at the branch a few miles from her house.

"She'd been with the bank for over 22 years, one of those people everyone loved and liked, both co-workers and customers, everyone thought the world of Maria. She was well regarded by all," said Steve Politakis, CEO of Kitsap Bank.

Friends say Bill McDonald had recently retired.

The couple attended the local Catholic church and had five children.



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