LYNNWOOD, Wash. – Two children are dead after a two-alarm fire at a townhouse apartment complex Sunday afternoon, according to South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue.
The fire happened at Lynnwood Townhouse Apartments in the 6700 block of 196th Street. A spokesperson says multiple 911 calls started coming in just after 2:30 p.m.
Interim Fire Chief Doug Dahl said the fire was fully involved when crews arrived on scene. After attacking the flames, the fire was knocked out in about 10 minutes.
“It’s a slow process,” said Interim Chief Dahl when asked about what happens next. “We’ve got investigators along with ATF that will come out and help us, due to nature of the call and they will just methodically work their way through it.”
The interim chief did not release the identities, ages or gender of the children who died. He said the parents were not home during the fire, but were on the scene after and working with fire investigators.
There were two adults and an 11-year-old boy in the home when the fire broke out. The 11-year-old and a firefighter were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, and both of them are expected to recover.
Ashley Rodriguez lives in a house next to the townhouse complex and ran over with her aunt Cindi Rice. The two of them tried to throw rocks in the upstairs window to help the children who were trapped.
“It was hot it was like ashes everywhere. You couldn’t see from the bottom. All we could think about were those poor children in there,” said Rice. “[A person on scene] was yelling, like from the bottom of his heart, terrified, screaming ... so loud it put chills up your spine.”
“I tried to throw a rock through the window up there, but [the fire] was so fast. They could not go back in and save their kids any way. It was like going back into a glowing kiln it was so lit up,” said Gibbs.
Jake Barlament says he got his wife and two dogs out of their townhome and said it was a helpless moment knowing the children were inside the burning unit.
“They were trying to get the kids to jump out the window. I know as much as they wanted them to, the kids, they had to be terrified,” said Barlament.
The fire impacted seven townhouse units and displaced about 15 people. The Red Cross and Support 7 are helping the people who are displaced.
Fire investigators are looking into a cause, an origin and if there were working smoke detectors and fire alarms inside the building.