A man sustained serious burns after he was “engulfed in flames” while working outside a home undergoing asbestos abatement Wednesday afternoon in north Spokane.
Spokane County Fire District 9 Assistant Chief Greg Anderson said a structure fire was reported around 1:55 p.m. at 35 E. Westview Ave. He said arriving units found a box van “well-involved” in fire that was spreading to the backside of a house where crews were removing asbestos.
Two people were working inside the home and one person was working outside in or around the van when the back of the van caught fire, Anderson said. The man working outside had first- and second-degree burns on his head, neck, face, arms, torso and buttocks.
He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and Anderson said it was his understanding he was then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Anderson said firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, which had spread to the attic and exterior of the home.
Mitch Carter, who lives in the neighborhood, said he saw the flames, heard an explosion and noticed heavy smoke coming from the man who sustained serious burns.
“The truck was just engulfed,” said Carter, adding a tree and the house caught fire after that.
He said the injured man, who “looked pretty distraught,” collapsed before a law enforcement officer assisted him.
Carter said he alerted neighbors of the fire and encouraged them to water their house in case the flames spread across the field.
“It was pretty wicked,” Carter said of the incident.
Ashley Leckie, another neighbor, said she was taking a nap before she woke up and noticed people taking photos. She opened the door and saw “clouds of smoke.”
“I don’t know how I slept through it,” Leckie said.
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