Federal Way father saves children from burning building | Update

An apartment building in the 1900 block of Southwest Campus Drive went up in flames Wednesday morning. Courtesy of South King Fire and Rescue

An apartment building in the 1900 block of Southwest Campus Drive went up in flames Wednesday morning. Courtesy of South King Fire and Rescue

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of the story initially published earlier today.

A father saved four children from an apartment fire Tuesday night.

According to South King Fire and Rescue’s Deputy Chief Gordon Goodsell, a couple fell asleep in the living room and awoke to the fire, which occurred at approximately 11:27 p.m. at the Pavilion Apartment Homes, 1900 block of Southwest Campus Drive.

The couple at first escaped out their ground apartment’s slider door but recognized their three children and niece were still inside. Before South King Fire & Rescue firefighters arrived at 11:33 p.m., the father crawled back inside the burning apartment, passed the kitchen where the fire started, and retrieved two children. He then went to back into the apartment and took a female child out the front door.

He was unable to get to the bedroom where the 2-year-old was sleeping. The door was closed, however, so he went back around the outside of the apartment, broke the bedroom window’s glass and dove into the room.

Goodsell said the father handed the toddler to a neighbor as he crawled out.

South King Fire & Rescue firefighters made “aggressive, tactical decisions” on how to get water on the fire, Goodsell said. They knocked the fire down quickly, containing it to the one apartment unit. Approximately 18 firefighters, four engines, one ladder, an aid car, battalion chief and one engine truck from Tacoma responded.

King County Medic One took the family of six to Harborview Medical Center to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation, but Goodsell said they’re doing well.

The family did lose their cat in the fire, however.

In their investigation, South King Fire & Rescue learned the cause of the fire was from unattended cooking. The couple also didn’t have a working fire alarm, which delayed their notification of the fire. Goodsell said smoke takes longer to inflict damage, but an open flame can seriously progress in three minutes.

The fire caused $125,000 in damages to the building and $50,000 in damages to the couple’s belongings, but they have renter’s insurance.

Goodsell cautions residents to make sure their fire alarm is properly working to avoid a fire such as this.

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