Husband and wife in suspicious Chattaroy fire both die



Posted on July 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 22 at 3:35 PM

CHATTAROY, Wash. -- Officials at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said a husband and wife who suffered severe burns in a mobile home explosion north of Spokane Wednesday have both died.

The Associated Press reported 51-year-old Michael Asselin died Friday and his wife died later on Sunday. The Spokane County sheriff's office considers his 57-year-old wife a possible domestic violence victim.

The ATF is assisting in the investigation, but it is not a federal case.

Major Crimes Detectives were called to the scene overnight Wednesday after receiving information the explosion may have been intentionally caused.

Firefighters were called to the scene just after 5:30 p.m. along the 3100 block of East Chattaroy Road.  Neighbors said they heard a loud explosion and saw flames that soon took over the mobile home.

A witness said she saw one of the victims fly out of the house when the explosion happened.  She said the explosion was so intense; some of the victim's clothes were blown off.

Firefighters said it was chaos in the neighborhood.  They made sure neighbors were far enough away in case another explosion happened.  They were able to keep the fire from spreading to neighboring homes.  The fire did burn a car and a shed on the same property.

"As I looked across the street, they had brought a man out and they were spraying him with a hose," recalled Deanna Moore.  "The lady that was there was walking around.  So I had her lay down on the ground.  She had severe burns.  The skin was hanging off of her hands.  And her face and her hair was all singed."

A helicopter took both victims to a hospital.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office said it is investigating to see if the fire was intentionally set.  Fire crews said there was some sort of gas tank inside the home.  However, they could not determine if it was a propane tank or an oxygen tank.  Investigators spent the night inside the house looking for evidence.