A deaf woman died when the World War II-era Richland house she lived in caught fire Friday morning.
Firefighters said they found her body in the living room of the house at 403 Adams St. A dog and cat also died in the fire.
Benton County Coroner John Hansens identified her as Linda Saracson, 67, a longtime resident of Richland.
Her roommate, Dennis Sparks, whom neighbors said helped care for her, was out buying groceries when the house caught fire.
Neighbors said they would often would see Saracson sitting outside the house, sometimes smoking.
“Animals were Linda’s world,” said Nathan Russell, who lived nearby. He described the dog that lived at the house as an older, large mixed breed named Rogue.
Richland fire crews, assisted by Pasco and Hanford fire departments, were dispatched to the blaze at 11:03 a.m.
They arrived to see heavy flames coming from the large front windows and the back of the house, said James Hempstead, Richland battalion chief.
The fire was fought from the outside of the house because the flames were too advanced and too hot to allow firefighters to enter the house, Hempstead said.
It took them about 10 minutes to knock down the fire. The house was an 800-square-foot government prefab dating to 1944 that had been remodeled.
County records listed Saracson’s son, Larry Bush, as the owner, along with Angela Bush.
Bush used sign language to communicate with his mother, the Herald reported in 2007 in a story about how growing up interpreting for his deaf parents had inspired his career as an educator.
He then was director of special services for ESD 123 based in Pasco.
His parents had divorced when he was just a year old, and he spent much of his life with his deaf father and stepmother.
Emergency dispatch received multiple calls reporting the fire. One neighbor, who declined to give his name, said he saw a Richland city truck park across the street and two workers run toward the house.
He noticed smoke coming from the house.
Richland electrical workers arrived at the fire shortly after it was reported and shut off power to the house, Hempstead said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Sparks was staying with a friend Friday night and had been referred to the American Red Cross if he needed further help, according to Richland police.