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

Man in critical condition after West Hills cooking fire

Firefighters extinguished a cooking fire Tuesday night at an apartment unit on U.S. Highway 2 in Spokane’s West Hills Neighborhood. One man was taken to the hospital with critical injuries.  (Courtesy of Spokane Fire Department)

A man was in critical condition after a cooking fire broke out Tuesday night in his apartment unit north of the Spokane International Airport.

Spokane firefighters, with help from Spokane County Fire District 10, were dispatched at about 6:30 p.m. to the apartment complex at 7723 West U.S. Highway 2, according to a Spokane Fire Department news release.

A woman from the burning unit evacuated and informed 911 dispatchers the fire started in the kitchen and her husband was still inside.

Fire crews arrived three minutes after they were dispatched and confirmed a man was still inside, the release said. Firefighters struggled opening the front door entirely because of debris blocking the way.

They knocked down some of the fire, then rerouted the hose line to the back door of the unit leading to the kitchen. There, they entered and extinguished the fire before finding the man on the floor in a bedroom.

They removed him and treated him with “advanced life support measures,” firefighters said. American Medical Response paramedics rushed the man to the hospital.

The woman who evacuated reported she and her husband were making dinner and briefly left the kitchen to use the restroom. While inside the restroom, she smelled smoke and heard smoke alarms go off, the release said.

She got out of the bathroom and saw the fire spread beyond the stovetop, forcing her to stay low to the floor to escape the dense smoke and flames.

A fire investigator determined the cause of the fire was unattended cooking and estimated damages at $80,000.

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, resulting in an average of 158,400 reported home structure fires yearly, the release said. The fires also lead to an average of 470 civilian deaths and 4,150 injuries annually.