Arrow-right Camera


Rescued boy’s condition improves after morning house fire

Fri., June 11, 2010, 3:50 p.m.

A firefighter gathers hose following the rescue of a 5-year-old boy during a blaze Friday morning at this northeast Spokane home. (Mike Prager)
A firefighter gathers hose following the rescue of a 5-year-old boy during a blaze Friday morning at this northeast Spokane home. (Mike Prager)

A 5-year-old boy rescued from a burning home in northeast Spokane has improved from critical to serious condition this afternoon at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Four other people, including the child’s grandmother and father, were able to escape; all were taken to Spokane hospitals, according to the Spokane Fire Department.

The fire on Princeton Avenue just east of Nevada Street started about 8 a.m. Flames were showing through the roof and second-floor of the two-story, wood-frame home, when crews arrived, a fire official said.

Two firefighters from Engine No. 15 went into the burning house’s basement, where the child was rescued, said Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

The boy was identified by family members as Jerryth Wade Kilmer-Butler.

Schaeffer said fire crews reported the child was not moving when pulled from the 1909 home at 1014 E. Princeton Ave., and was given medical attention on the way to Sacred Heart which brought him back around.

He was initially in critical condition, and family members said he was on a respirator.

Working as a team, the rescuing firefighters fought through the fire to gain access to the basement and the child, while another team provided protection by hitting the fire with water behind the escape path.

In all, eight firefighters were involved in the rescue.

Schaeffer said the flames and smoke were so thick they could not see in the basement. The rescuers used a thermal imaging camera to locate the boy from his body heat.

The grandmother, identified as Barbara Joice, 52, was initially reported in critical condition. She was taken to Deaconess Medical Center and reportedly was stable after the fire, according to family members.

The father, identified as Robert Butler, 33, and his fiance also were taken to Sacred Heart for treatment and was released.

A relative living across the street suffered smoke inhalation in an apparent attempt to help rescue the home’s occupants. He was identified as Samuel Mimms, and was taken to Sacred Heart.

All four of the adults were injured in attempts to rescue the child, said Schaeffer and family members.

Schaeffer said firefighters took about 15 minutes to knock down the fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The owner of the home, Greg Joice, had left for work at Huntwood Industries about 4:30 a.m., and learned about the fire while at work, he said.

The Joices and Butlers are part of a large extended family in Spokane, including relatives living across the street. Mimms and another occupant of the home joined residents of the burning house in trying to get to the boy before firefighters arrived.

There are four comments on this story »