Fatal Bellingham house fire caused by candles, say officials


by Associated Press and KING 5 News


Posted on December 4, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 7:00 PM

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Candles likely caused a house fire early Wednesday in Bellingham's Columbia neighborhood that killed one young man and injured two others, the fire department said.

A mother, her three children and one of their friends were in the home when the fire was reported about 4:30 a.m., said Fire Marshal Jason Napier.

The fire started in an upstairs bedroom where a teenage boy was awakened by burns, Napier said. He alerted the house, ran downstairs and got his mother who called 911. They tried to put out the fire with water from the kitchen but had to flee.

A brother and his friend were in another upstairs bedroom, Napier said. The brother went out the window, but his friend did not make it out and could not be reached through a hall because of heat and smoke.

The house was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived. Firefighters later found the young man's body.

"He tried to get his buddy out with him," Napier said. "For some reason he was disoriented and couldn't make it out."

The mother and another child downstairs escaped uninjured.

The boy with burns and the brother who was injured jumping out the window were taken to St. Joseph Medical Center. Names are not being released, Napier said.

Napier said the fire was sparked by some candles sitting on a bed, and like most fires it spread quickly.

There were no smoke alarms in the home, and an earlier alert probably would have saved a life, Napier said.

"There really is no good reason not to have a functioning smoke detector in your home," said Napier.

The previous fatal fire in Bellingham was last April when a woman and her brother were killed by a blaze in their home.


KING 5's Jim Forman contributed to this report.