Flames raced through a Spokane home’s attic, nearly burning the rancher to the ground Wednesday morning - but not before firefighters rescued a pet python from a bedroom.
Fire crews were wrapping up a medical call in the Southgate neighborhood at 10 a.m. when they were dispatched to a burning home in the 2300 block of east 46th Avenue.
Nobody was hurt, even as thick smoke filled the South Hill neighborhood.
The fire started in the backyard and was fueled by propane tanks, said Spokane Fire battalion chief Mike Thompson. Crews were able to rescue a pet python snake from a bedroom while they searched the home.
The homeowner, Dave Beine, arrived at the scene to find his home smoldering as firefighters carried out a smoking couch. The garage door had been cut open. His wife, Kimberly Beine, arrived shortly after driving all the way from Coeur d’Alene when she heard the news.
Some items in the home’s living area were salvaged by crews because the majority of the fire’s damage was in the attic, says Thompson.
Neighbors, including the street’s block watch captain, Tom Kearney, gathered to help the homeowners.
“It’s the American thing to do,” Kearney said.
Kearney says he helped contact the homeowners who were not home at the time of the fire. As a volunteer with the Inland Northwest chapter of the Red Cross, he was already prepared with a box of food, water and blankets to offer the homeowners in their time of need.
When carrying the python’s glass cage, Beine cut himself. Kearney, also a former physician, patched up his cut hand with readily available first aid to wipe away the blood and bandage his hand.
The neighborhood, Kearney said, is prepared to help the homeowners tonight even if that means temporary housing or “round-robin meals”.
“They won’t be on the street tonight,” Kearney added.