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Family thanks Yakima firefighters for saving them from apartment fire

By Mark Morey Yakima Herald-Republic

A man and his granddaughter who were rescued from a fatal apartment fire took time Thursday to thank the firefighters who saved them.

The Yakima Fire Department announced Friday that Richard Murr and his young granddaughter, Safire, stopped by the fire department to thank the shift of firefighters who were instrumental in rescuing them from the Mesa Apartments on Dec. 9.

Richard Murr’s wife, Virginia, died Sunday from injuries sustained in the fire.

Richard Murr recounted to the crew how he told Lt. Brian Kneisler that his wife and granddaughter were still inside, fire Capt. Jeff Pfaff said in a statement describing the meeting between the family members and the firefighters.

Kneisler was the first firefighter whom Murr saw at the window of the second-story apartment.

Kneisler and other firefighters entered the apartment, which was filled with thick, dark smoke, and found the girl and Virginia Murr, Pfaff said.

He credited Virginia Murr with helping to save her granddaughter’s life by taking her to same room where all three victims were found.

Pfaff described the meeting as a rare opportunity for firefighters to talk to fire victims they had helped save. Richard Murr and his granddaughter spoke with each firefighter and shook his or her hand, Pfaff said.

“These men and women, your Yakima firefighters, work and train hard every day to be ready for days like this. The teamwork of our crews is some of the best you will ever see,” Pfaff said in the statement.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Pfaff said.

Fire officials said earlier that the fire started in another apartment on the second story. Smoke then spread to the Murrs’ apartment.

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