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Burner stays in race despite housefire

A fire that destroyed the home of the Democratic candidate seeking to represent Mercer Island and much of the Eastside in U.S. Congress will not end the rematch campaign.

Early Tuesday evening, Congressional candidate Darcy Burner's campaign announced she would continue her second run to represent the 8th Congressional District despite a fire which broke out around 7 a.m. and burned down her family's home. Burner's husband, 5-year-old son and his puppy survived the fire. The family cat, Charlotte, could not be rescued.

According to Burner's Web site, the fire appeared to start from a faulty lamp in her son's room. Burner's spokesperson said Tuesday that her son Henry notified the family of the fire.

"They were in the house when it started," said Kaushik. "Her 5-year-old son, Henry, ran in and said, 'Mommy, daddy, the house is on fire!' and they saw the smoke and the smoke alarm went off."

While the candidate and her family survived the fire, the home located in the 3600 block of West Ames Lake Road between Redmond and Carnation "is at a total loss," according to her spokesperson Sandeep Kaushik.

"The roof is gone, the interior is gutted, the exterior walls are barely standing," said Kaushik.

Burner credited firefighters for their "incredible professionalism" and rapid response. She said her family was shaken by what had happened but were grateful a "true tragedy was narrowly avoided."

Burner, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert for the second consecutive election, was defeated in a close race two years ago. Burner is a former Microsoft manager who grew up in a military family in several rural towns across America. She graduated from Harvard University and moved to Washington in 1998.

After receiving news of the fire, Burner's two-term challenger issued a statement about her safety.

“My thoughts and prayers are with them as they work through their loss," read Reichert's statement. "At times like these we are reminded that nothing is more important than family and loved ones.”

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