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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Woman found dead in house fire last week had blunt-force trauma to head; police investigating

Aug. 9, 2022 Updated Thu., Aug. 11, 2022 at 1:52 p.m.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department received a call of smoke coming from a garage at about 11:20 a.m. on the 3000 block of South Clinton Road, just north of 32nd Street, said Patrick Erickson, a fire department spokesman. A woman died in the fire.  (Nick Gibson / The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane Valley Fire Department received a call of smoke coming from a garage at about 11:20 a.m. on the 3000 block of South Clinton Road, just north of 32nd Street, said Patrick Erickson, a fire department spokesman. A woman died in the fire. (Nick Gibson / The Spokesman-Review)

A woman whose body was pulled from a burning triplex in Spokane Valley last week suffered blunt force trauma to her head, according to a court files.

Spokane Valley detectives are investigating the Aug. 3 fire at 3019 S. Clinton Road and the woman’s death as potential arson and homicide. However, the cause and manner of the woman’s death, as well as the cause of the fire, are still undetermined, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Gregory stressed.

Police have made contact with the woman’s adult son, who is said to have lived at the residence, authorities said. 

According to court documents, the woman was found lying in the kitchen with blood pooling around her head. She had extensive burn damage to her chin, face and extremities, although there was no fire in the kitchen, the documents said.

She was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:45 a.m.

Police believe they know the identity of the woman. Her identity will be announced by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office. The identity of her son is also known, but The Spokesman-Review is not naming him because he has not been charged with a crime.

Investigators found smoke damage throughout the residence, but burn damage was limited to three separate areas that had no apparent connection, the documents said. The damage was limited to two of the residence’s bedrooms and to a living room couch, and none of the fires appeared to have spread from those locations, the document said.

Neighbors in the woman’s triplex were notified by a mail carrier that smoke was coming from underneath her garage door.

Spokane Valley firefighters extinguished the fire in about 12 minutes, department spokeswoman Julie Happy said.

The other two units in the triplex did not suffer any major damage.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Aug. 11, 2022 to update information about the police’s contact with the victim’s son. 

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