Grover Shegrud of Lynnwood couldn’t stay away Thursday from a home he designed and built for his family in 1966.
In December, the family held what likely was their last Christmas in the house. It was.
On Thursday, the Renton Fire Department burned it to the ground.
“If I built it, I should watch it go down,” he said. He last lived in the house in 1991, but other family members lived in the house until recently.
The family had sold the house and property recently to a developer who is building a new medical building on Talbot Road South just south of Valley Medical Center. The developer had donated the house to the City of Renton for a live-fire exercise for the city’s fire crews.
The training was Tuesday and Wednesday, with the finale on Thursday, when fire crews stood by to monitor the fire as it burned. A starter fire was lit at about 12:40 p.m.; less than an hour later, the house was fully engulfed in flames.
The smoke was visible for miles and the practice burn drew onlookers, including Shegrud and members of his family.
The live-fire exercise was a rare opportunity for Renton firefighters and their commanders to practice their skills in a controlled setting.
The city received permission to conduct the exercise from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, which monitors and requires extra precautions be taken to minimize impacts on the environment.