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Two people die when home burns

This mobile home at Inland Empire Way and 20th Avenue burned early Wednesday in a fire that killed the two occupants. (Jesse Tinsley)
This mobile home at Inland Empire Way and 20th Avenue burned early Wednesday in a fire that killed the two occupants. (Jesse Tinsley)

A man and woman of retirement age died early Wednesday when a fire ripped through a new manufactured home the two had occupied since last summer.

The fire occurred in the first part of an unusually busy morning in which firefighters put out three residential fires and rescued a woman who jumped off the Monroe Street Bridge.

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the deceased were inside the home at the Iron Wheel Mobile Home Park at 2002 E. Inland Empire Way when the fire was reported at 4:44 a.m.

That call came just 20 minutes after crews on the South Side had been dispatched to a house fire at 454 W. 28th Ave. Crews were still working on that blaze when the second fire was called in.

The first firefighters on the scene saw heavy smoke pouring from the residence. The first arriving company attacked the blaze after forcing its way into the home while the second team went in to search for occupants.

One person was pulled from the home and died outside, while the second occupant was found closer to the source of the fire and could not be resuscitated, Schaeffer said.

They were a man and a woman in their late 60s to early 70s.

They had not been positively identified by Wednesday afternoon, so their names were withheld by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s office.

The main part of the fire was put out in 10 minutes. The damage indicated 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.

Spokane fire investigators and police detectives are investigating the fire’s cause.

Mary Enders, who lives next door, said she awoke when she heard voices outside her home. She said the woman who owned the home was caring for the man, who was several years younger. He had a heart condition, Enders said.

“We were friends and it is such a shock,” Enders said. She only knew the two by their first names.

The woman was an avid gardener who shared tomatoes and salsa with Enders, she said.

“She had a good heart,” Enders said.

In the 4:24 a.m. fire on 28th Avenue, residents got out safely. Firefighters attacked the fire at the rear of the house and confined damage to that portion of the dwelling. The fire may have been caused by an electrical fault.

Two hours later, at 6:21 a.m., another fire occurred in a house converted to three apartments at Eighth Avenue and Jefferson Street.

Smoke alarms alerted residents, who all escaped, Schaeffer said. Electrical malfunction was the suspected cause.

Red Cross in Spokane said it is assisting three families with emergency food, clothing and shelter after they were displaced by that fire.

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