April 29, 2009 in City

House damaged, two pets die in fire

By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photo

Spokane police Officer Frank Erhart approaches a distraught homeowner who had just discovered his house was extensively damaged in a fire Tuesday. Two family pets died in the blaze.
(Full-size photo)

A Spokane family was left homeless and the family’s pets dead Tuesday in a blaze that destroyed a northeast Spokane home.

Spokane police officers were the first to arrive at the home at 2932 N. Stone St. about 5:30 p.m. and found several occupants running around outside yelling that a man might have been trapped inside with his dog, said Cpl. Jon Strickland.

Strickland said he ran and opened a side door and yelled inside the home for the man, but nobody responded.

“The house was just about fully engulfed in flames,” Strickland said.

Spokane Fire Department crews arrived a short time later and searched the burning home. Inside they found the family’s dog and cat. Firefighters tried to revive the dog, but it was later pronounced dead. The cat also died.

A short time after the blaze was contained, the man who neighbors mistakenly thought to be trapped arrived and tried to run inside the charred and smoking house. He was stopped by Spokane police officers, and a brief scuffle ensued.

Officer Frank Erhart had to restrain and calm the distraught man.

Erhart had just returned from a 4 p.m. awards ceremony, where he was presented a Lifesaving Medal for his role in rescuing a man from attempted suicide in February. Officers Nick Lundgren and Elina Gee also were awarded medals.

The cause of Tuesday’s blaze is still under investigation.

The damage appeared to be confined to the front of the house. The Spokane County Assessor’s Office lists the home’s owner as Julie Campbell, but records show the tax payments are made by Habitat for Humanity.

Officers said the residents did not have insurance.

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