Fire Investigators completed their investigation into a fire in an apartment that killed four children and an adult at 334 Northwest 41st Street in Fremont last Saturday. Investigators determined the accidental fire started when a foam mattress came in contact with a light fixture in a closet on the first floor. Open doors and windows caused the fire to spread quickly from the first floor to the second floor of the two story apartment. One woman and her five year-old niece escaped the fire but heavy smoke and flames trapped four children and an adult woman in an upstairs bathroom. A 22-year old woman, 13-year old boy, 7-year old girl, 5-year old girl and 5-year old boy lost their lives in the fire. Fire damage was estimated at $200,000.
The apartment had a smoke alarm system and investigators were told that the smoke alarm did go off.
A mechanical problem on a reserve fire engine prevented the first firefighters on scene from being able to put water on the fire. The crew on Engine 18 was using a reserve engine the day of the fire while their first line engine was undergoing routine maintenance.
The Department is conducting a safety investigation into the fire and what went wrong with the reserve engine. The City’s Fleets and Facilities Department, which maintains this vehicle, are cooperating in this investigation. Part of the safety investigation will include diagnostic testing on the reserve engine scheduled for early next week. The tests will be conducted by an independent consultant and a representative from the engine manufacturer, Emergency 1.
Home Fire Safety
Parents and caregivers need information on how to keep their children safe, and how to help them respond to a fire emergency. Children need to know, at a level they can understand, what to do if a fire happens or the smoke alarm goes off.
The Seattle Fire Department has developed a collection of activities and family worksheets for parents and caregivers: http://www.seattle.gov/fire/pubEd/familysafety/familySafety.htm. These materials provide tools to help teach children what to do if a fire should happen in their home.