Mother saves kids from fatal Spokane Valley house fire



Posted on February 19, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 8:16 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.—A local mother saved her kids during a deadly house fire near Van Marter and 48th on Tuesday night.

Firefighters said the mother, who is married to a firefighter, was taken to the hospital for burns and smoke inhalation after saving her children. The family dog died in the fire.

“Without the heroic efforts of Firefighter Pete Flatt’s wife (Rachelle) this fire could have been much more tragic,” said Assistant Chief Greg Godfrey.

Rochelle Flatt said she put the children down to bed for the night when she noticed flames on the back patio. She called 911 and as she turned to get her kids, she heard a loud noise. The relief valve on the BBQ propane tank exploded and shattered the patio doors, according to officials.

The fire and heavy smoke came straight into the house as Flatt removed their oldest child to the front yard and then re-entered the house to rescue the other child and baby.

“When I turned around for my last trip in for Owen it was intimidating because it was so black and there wasn’t any way I wasn’t coming out without him,” said Rachelle Flat. “When I got to the front door it shut behind me so I was having a hard time feeling for the handle and so I really started to panic because we were right there at the door but I couldn’t get it open.”

The smoke and heat were intense as Flatt’s wife was exiting the house with the baby. She received minor burns to her ears, singed hair and severe smoke inhalation.

“I just did what I feel like any parent would probably do,” said Flatt.
Firefighters from Spokane County Fire District 8 and Spokane Valley Fire Department arrived and put out the fire. Crews arrived to find heavy fire coming from the back of the house and the attic area. Firefighters entered the house and were able to stop the fire before it spread beyond the first floor.

Flatt’s husband was working on the South Hill at the time of the call. He was been a firefighter for almost 10 years.

Rachelle Flatt was released from the hospital Wednesday according to fire officials.

Fire investigators said there was $100,000 done to the structure of the house and about $50,000 in contents.

The International Association of firefighters Local 3711 has set up a fund for the Flatt family.  Any cash or check donation can be dropped off or mailed to any Spokane Teachers Credit Union. All checks can be made out to the "Flatt Fire Family Fund."

If you have clothing or toys you wish to donate, you can leave them at Fire District 8's Fire Station 84, at 4410 S. Bates Road in Spokane Valley.