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Cooking fire caused fatal blaze

Man, 64, couldn’t escape flames; cause of second blaze unclear

A cooking fire in a Spokane motor home is what led to the weekend death of a 64-year-old man, Fire Chief Bobby Williams reported on Monday.

Major Allen, who was unable to escape the fast-spreading blaze Saturday, was one of three people to die in two dwelling fires over the weekend. The Spokane County medical examiner was working Monday to confirm the identities of the other two persons and causes of death of all three.

Autopsies were ordered on Monday, the medical examiner’s office reported.

Spokane fire officials said Allen apparently was unable to escape the burning motor home, which was ignited by a cooking fire at 1806 W. Gardner Ave. at 11:48 p.m. on Saturday.

Williams said the side door was blocked by the fire, and Allen apparently tried to get out through a front passenger door.

The hot and fast-moving fire destroyed the home and badly burned the man’s body, firefighters said.

Crews used water to protect adjacent buildings, which had some damage from exposure to heat.

The second fire, at 6325 E. Upriver Lane, occurred five hours later and claimed two lives, fire officials said.

Crews from Spokane County Fire District No. 9 responded to the fully involved fire at 4:58 a.m. The first arriving crew from a station at Bigelow Gulch and Jensen roads reported flames coming from the roof.

By the time firefighters got into the home the floor was beginning to collapse, said Deputy Chief Doug Bleeker.

Twenty firefighters from District 9 were joined by a support vehicle from Fire District No. 4, which provided its converted bus to allow firefighters to get warm.

No injuries were reported to firefighters.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies to the scene to rule out foul play, Bleeker said.

The county also sent out forensic technicians.

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