Family believes cigarette started deadly southeast Spokane trailer fire



Posted on November 16, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 2:02 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.—Five fire crews responded to the scene of South Spokane fire in a double-wide trailer early Wednesday morning that killed two people.

It happened around 4:45 a.m. in Iron Wheel Mobile Home Park at 2002 S. Inland Empire Way near 20th.

Fire crews arrived to see smoke showing from the front of the home. They forced their way inside, where they worked to put out the flames and search for any missing residents.

Fire crews extinguished the flames within ten minutes, but they say smoke and heat had filled the trailer.

They found the two victims, a 72-year-old man and 65-year-old woman, as they searched the structure. One person was taken outside and resuscitative measures were started but were unsuccessful. Emergency crews did not attempt to resuscitate the second person. They were both declared dead at the scene.

According to Spokane Fire Public Information Officer Brian Schaffer, the people who normally reside in the home are an elderly man in a wheelchair and his caretaker.  Unfortunately, the bodies are so badly burned they cannot be identified just yet.

Officials said the fire sparked in the living area.

No word yet on the cause, but a detective was sent to investigate the scene.

Family members of the man tell us he was on oxygen and he smoked. 

Investigators have not released the exact cause of the fire but the victim's family say he may have been smoking and fell asleep with a lit cigarette.

Authorities say smoke detectors were in the home, but they are not sure if the detectors were functional.

The inside of the home suffered intense heat and smoke damage, and the fire department says reoccupation of the home is not likely. Officials estimate the loss of property value to equal around $40,000.