SELAH — About 30 firefighters were called to a house fire in Selah late Sunday afternoon, fire officials reported.

The fire at 701 W. Fremont Ave. began just after 5 p.m.

No one was home at the time of the fire, but Miguel Gonzales, son of the residents, arrived at the scene after 5:30 p.m. and looked on in shock as crews continued to put out hot spots.

He said his parents have lived in the home since 1996. His two sisters and one of his sister’s three young children live in the house as well, but the family was out at Rimrock Lake on Sunday afternoon.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Selah fire Capt. Mike Johnston estimated the cost of damage to the contents at $20,000-$30,000, and the damage to the house at $60,000-$80,000. The cause is under investigation.

Neighbor Kari Robie was in her backyard one street over when she saw what she thought was dust billowing up along Fremont. She climbed the fence, saw that it was smoke and called 911, then watched with several other neighbors as flames began shooting a few feet out of the back windows.

“It started as just a red glow behind the window, then the glass started breaking out on its own,” Robie said. It scared her at first, because she thought the glass breaking outward meant someone was inside, fighting to get out. “Fortunately it doesn’t seem like anybody was home.”

The smoke had started out white, but as the flames came out of the window it turned black, and was “really thick,” she said.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Robie said. “It was pretty intense ... You’re just helpless, standing here; there’s absolutely nothing you can do.”

Crews came in from Selah, Gleed, Yakima, East Valley and the Yakima Training Center. Johnston said the initial crew knocked the blaze down quickly, but not before flames had burst out of several windows and blackened the siding under the roof.

• Molly Rosbach can be reached at 509-577-7728 or