A residential fire in Bothell claimed the life of one person late in the evening on Wednesday, according to the Bothell Police Department.
“Last night at about 10 p.m., Kirkland fire received information about a Kirkland house fire…,” said Bothell police Sgt. Ken Seuberlich. “Once the fire was extinguished, personnel found what they identified as a body inside. Investigators then looked at the scene as a crime scene – which is standard practice.”
While the name of the person has not been released, witnesses told the reporter that they believe the victim was the female resident of the house, located in the 11100 block of NE 145th St. Bothell police, along with the Bothell Fire Department, are still investigating the cause of the fire.
“There’s two people that reside at this residence…the home owner came home to find the house fully involved,” Seuberlich said. Bothell police have taken a statement from the home owner and released him. “At this time, I’m not able to disclose [the deceased person’s name].”
First responders from Kirkland, Bellevue and Bothell all showed up to the fire and quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before neighbors attempted to do their part with garden hoses.
“I heard some crackling and popping, and I was on my computer and looked out the back – it was all hazy in my back yard – and then I looked to the left and there was full flames shooting out the back of their windows,” said Casey Stewart, a next door neighbor to the residence on fire. “As soon as I opened my door, he – the next door neighbor [and home owner] – was running around to my front door and said ‘Call 911, I don’t have a cell phone,’ so I was like ‘I’m on it.'”
After the call to 911, Stewart grabbed his garden hose and tried to do what he could to help keep the flames from spreading to his own house, where his newborn baby was sleeping inside.
“I started leaning over my fence, and my neighbors they had two hoses going at the same time, and we’re just trying to knock it down, but there’s nothing you can do with a garden hose,” Stewart said. “[The owner] was there running back and forth, I asked him if there was anyone still in there and he said ‘She’s still in there, it’s too hot.'”
Seuberlich confirmed that the owner arrived after the fire had already started and had, according to the owner’s statement, tried to enter the house, but was not able to do so due to the intensity of the fire.
After the entry attempt, neighbors aimed their hoses at the same spot, the back bedroom, but the flames were already 20-feet high, according to witnesses.
“When you’re that close, [the fire spreading is] all you’re thinking about. Even when [fireman] were hooking up the hoses and everything, we still had our garden hoses on it,” Stewart said. “At that point the windows were starting to melt and it was spreading to the garage… we were just spraying everything down we could.”
While Stewart had only met the victim a handful of times, it still impacts him to know that something like this has happened in the neighborhood.
“It was quite the night. It’s still just kind of, wow, kind of crazy,” Stewart said. “To have that happen, you’d never expect that kind of thing. We don’t know what to think right now.”
The cause of the fire is still unknown but arson investigators have been on scene.
Those in the neighborhood, though, were happy to have such prompt response from authorities.
“They seriously kicked [butt]. They were here fast, had it under control fast. The whole situation for that was great,” Stewart said. “If anything is good about it, we know they get here quick and there’s full pressure on the hose. All the neighbors were in and helping, everyone was trying to do what they could.”
The area of Northeast 145th Street where the incident happened is in or near three fire jurisdictions; the house is located in Bothell, just across Northeast 145th is the city of Kirkland and two blocks east is the jurisdiction of Woodinville Fire and Rescue.
“It was about 10 o’clock last night, I heard the sirens and smelt the smoke,” said Kirkland resident Richard Villines. “It looked like organized chaos…There was firetrucks from Bothell, Bellevue, Woodinville, Kirkland…”
According to Villines, the female resident had been taken to and from the hospital via an ambulance recently, so he thought it was something to do with that until he saw the fire trucks and smoke.
“I didn’t know her on any intimate level at all, except for seeing her around,” Villines said. “We’d just assumed… it was pretty obvious, I knew the woman was always home. It’s pretty sad, even though you didn’t know somebody.”
According to Seuberlich, all deaths are considered crime scenes until the means of death is found. Seuberlich also stated that he doesn’t expect any information about how the fire started or how the person found inside died to be released any time soon.
When the preliminary reports are released, the Bothell Reporter will update the story.