News

Fire destroys home and kills two of family's pets

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

A Federal Way-area family was displaced Wednesday after the home they lived in suffered major damage in a fire.

Federal Way Fire Department spokeswoman Monica Colby said by the time neighbors saw the fire and called 9-1-1, flames were coming out of a garage window and quickly spreading up the side of the two-story, wood-frame house, located in the 35700 block of 26th Avenue South.

Two adults, three children, a dog and a couple birds lived in the home, Colby said. The birds apparently died in the fire, but no one else was injured.

A King County fire investigator believes the fire was electrical and started in the garage, Colby said, adding it appears to be accidental.

The family living in the house — Nasal and Teresa Marie Tileh and their three children — just sold the house to another person. They were going to continue to rent from her, though Teresa Marie said they didn’t have renters insurance. She said Wednesday they didn’t have anywhere to stay yet and they didn’t know what they were going to do.

Colby said the couple’s 16-year-old son was in the house sleeping when he heard glass shatter. A neighbor said the boy crawled out of the house, then ran to a neighbor’s house to call 9-1-1.

Colby said four people called to report the fire.

The teenager went back to the house to try to save the pets, Colby said. The dog came when he called, but the smoke was too thick for the boy to get back inside to rescue the birds. He later called his mom at work, and she called his dad at work.

Fire trucks began arriving within two minutes of the 9-1-1 calls, but the house was already 40 percent involved in fire, Colby said.

Just after noon Wednesday, the Tilehs stood next to their son, who sat with his head in his arms on the sidewalk across the street from their home. Teresa Marie squeezed his shoulders and the teenager scratched the dog on the back as firefighters sprayed water into the garage, where white wisps of smoke continued to rise from the charred contents.

Colby said the boy initially felt alright, but later began complaining of dizziness. She said an ambulance was on its way to take him to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way for treatment of smoke inhalation.

The three other children in the family were still at school, the parents said.

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