LYNNWOOD, Wash. -- South Snohomish County Fire Department investigators worked Monday to determine the cause of a deadly fire at Lynnwood Townhouse Apartments. A public information officer confirmed two siblings, a 15-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy, died in a raging fire that sparked at an apartment Sunday afternoon.
The public information officer said the brother and sister were visiting a male relative who lived at the apartment. The two siblings were inside the home with him, an adult woman and an 11-year-old boy when the fire started. The two adults escaped unharmed. The 11-year-old was expected to recover from smoke inhalation.
A representative with Shoreline Public Schools confirmed the brother and sister were students in the district. Administrators offered crisis counseling teams at the affected schools to support students and families in mourning.
Joanna Jamerson lives almost directly under the apartment that caught fire. She was away from home when the flames sparked and was in disbelief when she heard it claimed the lives of the two children.
“I ran over here and I saw what happened and I just fell to my knees,” said Jamerson.
She said her brother was at her house when he heard the people upstairs running and screaming for their lives and several neighbors tried to save them.
“They were throwing rocks to try to break the glass to get the kids out. But they just couldn’t get them,” said Jamerson. “My brother had nightmares all night last night. And he’s really having a hard time.”
Jamerson has lived at the complex for five years. She recalled seeing the kids playing together all the time.
“These are kids that we see every day, kids that we play with every day, kids that we love that are very important to all of us,” said Jamerson.
The kids were important to a lot of people in the community. All day Monday people dropped off flowers and stuffed animals and stopped for a moment of silence as they looked at the destruction of the deadly fire.
“[I] don’t understand how that happened so fast, within seconds,” said Jamerson.
Jamerson was one of 15 people displaced due to fire, smoke and water damage. The American Red Cross offered temporary housing vouchers and other resources to the people impacted.
While fire investigators worked to determine what sparked the flames, Jamerson wondered what was next for her.
“I am in complete shock. I don’t know where we’re going to live. I don’t know if my stuff is okay. I don’t know if two of my cats are okay,” said Jamerson.
The South Snohomish County Fire department said investigators would likely determine the cause of the fire as early as Tuesday, Nov. 5. The Lynnwood Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Seattle Field Division were also involved in the investigation.