A neighbor at a Kennewick mobile home park where a fatal fire erupted early Monday said that all he saw was "a wall of yellow flames" when he looked out his window after police woke him up.
"It's a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach," said Edward Hall, 51, who lives next door to the single-wide mobile home at 4815 W. Clearwater Ave.
One of his neighbors was able to climb out of a bedroom window, but officials believe the woman's mother died inside. The woman who escaped suffered serious injuries, officials said.
Positive identifications on both women still was pending late Monday, but Benton County Coroner John Hansens said he believes they are the homeowner and her adult daughter.
The mobile home at space 35 is owned by Elvie Pidcock, 65, according to the Benton County Assessor's Office and public records.
"We believe it's the daughter who escaped out of a bedroom window and the other female was found near the doorway to the same bedroom," Hansens told the Herald. "She was not found in her bedroom. She was found (in a hallway) near the front door, which is near the bedroom door of the room where the daughter escaped out."
Hansens said the woman who lives there is in her mid-60s and her daughter had been spending a lot of time there.
Another neighbor told the Herald that when they saw one woman jump from the window, she said her mother still was inside.
Hansens said he likely won't be able to confirm the victim's name until the autopsy is completed today. The body was taken from the home about 1:45 p.m. Monday.
"We hope the jewelry (she was wearing) will assist in identification," he said.
The woman who crawled out of the window when the fire broke out at 3:20 a.m. suffered severe smoke inhalation and burns. She was taken to Kennewick General Hospital, but later flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Hansens said.
"She has significant injuries," he said. "We have not been able to speak with her."
It's not known if the home had working smoke detectors. Kennewick Fire Marshal Mark Yaden said two boys walking by who first saw the smoke didn't report hearing a smoke alarm and neither did the neighbors on both sides.
But, he noted, by the time the fire was discovered, it already had gotten hot and could have melted or knocked out the smoke detectors.
A neighbor told the Herald she was up early watching TV when someone knocked on the door and told her to call 911. She said she looked out the window and saw smoke coming from the top of the mobile home.
"I don't know who broke the window, but I saw (the younger woman) coming out of the window," said the neighbor, who didn't want to be named. "The woman said 'Please call police. My mom's inside.' "
Hall, who rents a room in a mobile home in space 34, said, "Our living room window faces the mobile home that was on fire. They have an extended porch, which brought flames that much closer to ours. ... As soon as I saw the flames, I went from (moving) fast to very fast out of the house."
When Kennewick firefighters arrived, flames had engulfed the living room and were moving rapidly into a bedroom and breaking through windows, Yaden said.
Crews had a quick response getting the fire out, he said, but they had to deal with slick and icy conditions while battling the blaze.
Firefighters also were trying to keep the flames from spreading to other units in the mobile home park. Crews from the Richland Fire Department and Benton Fire District 1 also responded.
Hall said the heat from the fire burned some of the siding on his home, cracked the living room window and melted the blinds. Firefighters had to use a carbon monoxide meter to check the home, and Hall said they weren't allowed back inside until about 8:15 a.m.
Yellow crime scene tape was stretched around the trees, and vehicles in front of the burned house and Kennewick police's Crime Scene Response unit was parked out front. Kennewick police are handling the death investigation while fire officials work to determine what sparked the fire.
Investigators from both departments spent the day Monday sifting through charred debris.
Yaden said the cause is not known and the fire investigation likely won't start until today. The priority Monday was on the death investigation, he said.
Anyone with information about the fire who may have been in the area Monday morning or friends or family who have recently been in the home are asked to call Kennewick police or fire investigators through the nonemergency dispatch line at 628-0333.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org