Pre-dawn fire kills two near Inland Empire Way
Firefighters take on three residential blazes in succession
Two people died this morning in an early-morning fire near Inland Empire Way and 20th Avenue.
It was the most serious in a string of three pre-dawn fires in Spokane.
Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the deceased were inside a double-wide mobile home at 2002 E. Inland Empire Way when the fire call came in at 4:44 a.m., 20 minutes after crews had been called to a house fire at 28th Avenue and Howard Street.
The first firefighters on the scene saw heavy smoke pouring from the residence at the Iron Wheel Mobile Home Park. The first arriving firefighting company attacked the blaze after forcing their way into the home while the second team went in to search for occupants.
One occupant was taken from the home, but died outside the fire, while the second occupant was found closer to the source of the fire and could not be resuscitated, he said.
They were a man and a woman in their late 60s to early 70s.
The main part of the fire was put out in 10 minutes.
The damage showed that the fire had built up intense heat, Schaeffer said. Smoke alarms were in the home, but it was not determined if they had gone off.
An investigation into the cause of the fire was underway involving Spokane fire investigators and police detectives. The Spokane County Medical Examiner office was called to the scene as well.
In the 4:24 a.m. fire, flames damaged a home at 28th Avenue and Howard Street, forcing a family to evacuate. They were being sheltered at a neighbor’s home, Schaeffer said.
The fire damaged the rear of the home. Firefighters had to cut holes in the roof to ventilate smoke and gas to stop the fire.
Two hours later, another fire occurred in a residence converted to three apartments at Eighth Avenue and Jefferson Street at 6:21 a.m.
Smoke alarms alerted residents who all escaped, Schaeffer said.
Red Cross in Spokane said it is assisting three families with emergency food, clothing and shelter after they were burned out of their residences in that fire.
This is a developing story.