Twenty-pound rock pierces roof of Washougal apartment, lands in child's bedroom

A twenty-pound rock from a construction site punched through the roof and ceiling of a child's bedroom Wednesday afternoon in Washougal. (Contributed Photo)

A Washougal family escaped injury Wednesday afternoon when a piece of rock fell from the sky, pierced their roof, and landed in their child's bedroom.

Fire officials say the rock came from a nearby construction site, where crews were blasting to make way for utility lines in a new subdivision.

"They were doing some blasting just above the apartment complex for utility lines," said Ron Schumacher, fire marshal with the Camas-Washougal Fire Department. "The twenty-pound piece of rock flew a couple hundred feet. It landed on the roof, penetrated the roof and ended up in a little boy's bedroom."

The affected apartment is part of the Lookout at the Ridge apartment complex. The family who lives in the affected unit didn't want to comment Wednesday.

Fire officials named North Idaho Drilling Inc. as the company responsible for the blasting work. Calls to the company weren't returned as of Wednesday night.

Schumacher says it appears a piece of safety equipment called a blast mat failed to do its job.

"A blast mat weighs almost 2,000 pounds," he said. "It's got big chunks of tires and a heavy chain woven through it. It's very heavy and it's supposed to suppress anything that's flying."

Schumacher says the fire department only learned of the incident after being told KATU News was inquiring about what happened. He says the company didn't tell the fire department about the incident. But KATU has learned the company was in contact with residents of the affected apartment. Those residents say their roof was patched and they were offered a place to stay for the night but declined.

Fire officials say they'll begin thoroughly investigating the incident Thursday.

"Almost 45 years on the job, and I've never seen anything like this before," said Schumacher.

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