August 20—A Seattle Fire Investigator determined the cause of an early morning house fire was accidental, caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.
At 1:53 a.m. a resident called 911 after seeing smoke and flames coming from their next door neighbor’s home located in the 1800 block of South Lane Street. The neighbor ran next door to alert the occupant that his home was on fire. Without a response from the occupant, the neighbor kicked the door open but was not able to make entry into the house due to the heavy smoke and heat from the fire. He did locate the occupant and quickly pointed him out to responding firefighters.
Firefighters arrived to find flames blowing out of both sides of the house and the back of the one-story home with a basement. Crews immediately began a search and rescue operation and pulled the unconscious and unresponsive occupant from first floor bedroom of his home. Medics began CPR. After 8 minutes of chest compressions, paramedics were able to get a heartbeat. The patient was transported to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition with smoke inhalation and life threatening injuries.
Due to the immediate threat to neighboring homes, firefighters directed hose streams to the sides of the burning house. Crews were able to protect neighboring homes from fire damage. It took 30 minutes to control the fire. The extinguishment of the fire was delayed by a large volume of combustible material inside the house. It took nearly one hour and ten minutes to completely extinguish the fire.
An engine company will be stationed outside the home on a fire watch to prevent the fire from rekindling.
The fire investigator determined improperly discarded smoking materials in an under-the-sink kitchen garbage can caused the fire. The damage estimate is $100,000 to the structure and $50,000 to the contents.
No firefighters were injured in the fire.