A 66-year-old man is dead following a house fire in north Spokane.
Clarence Green, the sole occupant of the home, perished in the fire that began around 8 a.m. today at 3418 E. Marietta Ave. near Spokane Community College. The blaze charred an area of the white, single-story wood frame house facing the street. A wheelchair ramp leading to the house was also damaged in the fire, and the heat melted areas of siding on a neighboring home facing the blaze.
Several engines quickly responded after a neighbor called 911, but Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the flames spread so quickly that survival was unlikely by the time they arrived.
Green was a heavy smoker and there was oxygen in the home, Schaeffer said. Neighbors said Green was being treated for throat cancer and on hospice care.
It’s likely the oxygen tanks caused the fire, Schaeffer said. Neighbors reported hearing multiple explosions before fire engines arrived. The rapid spreading of the flames shows the importance of oxygen tank safety, Schaeffer said.
“Fire doubles every minute, and this is a good example of that,” Schaeffer said.
Neighbors said new oxygen tanks were delivered Thursday.
The fire has been extinguished, but investigators are on the scene and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. No animals were in the home. Green’s sister was visiting and said through the Fire Department she was thankful to neighbors for taking good care of him.