July 30, 2005 in City

Apartment fire injures woman

By The Spokesman-Review

A Spokane woman was critically injured early Friday in an apartment fire in north Spokane.

Firefighters who arrived at the Colton Place Apartments, 6109 North Colton, about 3 a.m. found the 41-year-old woman in her bathroom, said Lt. Chris Phillips, a Spokane Fire Department investigator. When she was carried outside, she had a pulse but was not breathing. Neighbors said her name is Debbie Woodruff.

Woodruff was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she was listed in critical condition Friday night. She suffered third-degree burns to her arm and injuries to her airway from inhaling heated gas from the fire, Phillips said.

The blaze started on a couch that was ignited when Woodruff, who lived alone in the apartment, fell asleep while smoking, Phillips said.

Jim Lant, a tenant in the building and friend of Woodruff’s, said he was awakened by the commotion outside and saw smoke pouring from her apartment.

Residents tried to rescue Woodruff before firefighters arrived, but the door was locked and the fire too intense, he said.

“It was like a state of confusion,” Lant said. “We all tried to do the best we could.”

“She is a very good friend of all of us,” Lant said. “Right now all our thoughts and prayers are with her and her children.”

In the apartment above Woodruff’s, Blanche Salerno was awakened by a smoke detector. Her apartment was spared damage, except holes in the walls that firefighters made to ensure that the fire had not spread.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email