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Woman, dogs killed in house fire

Kim Staggs is comforted by neighborhood children after her aunt was killed in a house fire Friday on East Princeton Avenue. (Dan Pelle)
Kim Staggs is comforted by neighborhood children after her aunt was killed in a house fire Friday on East Princeton Avenue. (Dan Pelle)

A woman and her dogs died in a fire that ripped through her northeast Spokane home Friday.

Inez L. Williams, 67, was described by friends and family as an animal lover who had lived at 4128 E. Princeton Ave. for decades.

Fire officials are investigating how the fire at the double-wide trailer began, but the woman’s niece, Kim Staggs, said her aunt had large oxygen tanks in the home and often smoked in bed.

Staggs lived in the home with her young children. The American Red Cross Inland Northwest Chapter is helping them with food, housing and clothing.

Several dogs, cats and birds lived in the home, a few of which were unaccounted for Friday afternoon, friends said.

Family and neighbors cried as firefighters removed the body of a Rottweiler-dachshund mix named Skyler.

Skyler and a Labrador retriever named Jingles were very close to Williams, said Melissa Hebert, whose boyfriend is Williams’ nephew.

“They were always by her side,” Hebert said. “They wouldn’t leave her for anything.”

Neighbor Sholleet Torres recalled watching Williams use her motorized scooter to walk the dogs on East Princeton Avenue.

“We used to sit in the driveway and talk all the time,” Torres said.

According to news archives, Williams’ son, Terry Allen Palm, and his girlfriend, Angela Walsh, went missing in 2002 in a presumed murder that remains unsolved. Palm’s body was found in the Spokane River the next year, about four months after Walsh’s remains were also recovered from the river.

Williams told The Spokesman-Review in 2008 that she kept a picture of Palm taken at Mount Spokane to help her remember him during his happier days. Palm grew up in the Princeton Avenue home that was destroyed Friday.

Torres said she was home when the fire broke out next door. She called 911 within seconds, but flames already were bursting out of Williams’ bedroom windows.

“It’s scary. It was that quick,” Torres said.

The fire appeared to have started in the east end of the manufactured home, where family said Williams’ bedroom was located. Seven companies of firefighters extinguished the blaze within 15 minutes, said Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer. The blaze was first reported at 2:09 p.m.

Caregivers helped Williams with daily activities, Staggs said. One was at the home just a half-hour before the fire started.

Torres said her only comfort is knowing Williams is in a better place.

“It breaks my heart,” she said.