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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man dead, woman and two children critically injured in house fire near North Central High School

Robert Desislets, 40, died in a house fire Saturday, while his wife, 33-year-old Arielle Desislets, and their two children, 2 and 7, are on life support at an area hospital, a family member told KHQ on Sunday.  (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review)

One man died and three others, including two children, were in critical condition after a house fire broke out early Saturday morning across the street from North Central High School.

Firefighters responded at 4:10 a.m. to 1717 N. Howard St., according to a Spokane Fire Department news release. Reports to 911 indicated the porch was on fire and the 911 caller was unable to access the front door because of the fire.

Crews arrived in less than four minutes and saw heavy fire coming from the front of the house. Firefighters entered the home from the second floor in the back of the house and started searching for victims in “challenging conditions,” the release said.

They found two adults and two children on the second floor of the house. Fire and American Medical Response crews rendered medical aid.

A man died at the scene, while a woman and two children were taken to the hospital in critical condition, firefighters said.

Zhitem Veach, who lives next door in a multiple-unit residence, said her boyfriend notified her of the fire, and she saw emergency vehicle lights in the window.

“It was really lit up, lots of red and white flashing lights,” Veach said.

She said she also saw white smoke in the sky and heard a great deal of commotion, as well as a chainsaw firefighters used.

“It’s really terrifying, especially being at such close proximity,” Veach said.

Justin de Ruyter, fire department spokesman, said firefighters cut multiple holes in the roof for ventilation and in the wall beneath at least one window to get the occupants out of the second floor.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear, the release said.

One block of Howard Street was still closed to traffic Saturday afternoon.