A weekend meant to celebrate a 50th birthday ended instead with an explosion that severely burned three people from Pasco and destroyed their Pomeroy cabin.
Lucy Hawks, who was celebrating her birthday, her husband, Bob Hawks, 55, and their daughter, Stephanie Dalen, 27, were seriously burned Friday in the fire that obliterated their cabin after a propane refrigerator exploded.
All three now are at the Harborview Medical Center burn unit in Seattle with second-degree burns.
Bob and Lucy Hawks were in the kitchen putting hamburgers together for dinner when their new propane refrigerator exploded, said the Hawks' other daughter, Jamie Bezotte of Pasco.
The family was building the cabin and just had a few finishing touches to complete.
Lucy Hawks, a health physics technician at Hanford, was directly in front of the fridge, Bezotte said.
Some campers in neighboring cabins responded to the fire and used bulldozers to prevent it from spreading. Bezotte said her parents and sister already were outside on the grass when the neighbors arrived.
"Nobody knows how they got out," she said.
It took firefighters about an hour to respond, Bezotte said.
Bezotte was on the way to the cabin when the fire occurred. She said she would have been there with her young children if they hadn't gotten a flat tire.
Instead, she drove to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston after she got a 6:30 p.m. call telling her that her parents and sister were headed there in an ambulance. From Lewiston, her family was flown to Harborview.
Dalen's burns are the worst, although she was in the living room when the explosion happened. Bezotte said they believe her sister helped her mom out of the cabin.
Dalen suffered second-degree burns from the tops of her fingers to her armpits, as well as burns on her face and chest.
About 25 percent of Lucy Hawks' legs are covered in second-degree burns, and she also has burns on her back and shoulder.
Bob Hawks, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 839 in Pasco, suffered second-degree burns from his wrists to his elbows.
Bezotte said Bob Hawks should be released from the hospital soon, but they aren't sure how long Lucy and Dalen will be at Harborview. It could be a few weeks.
Bezotte said her mom and sister have had a couple of surgical procedures to remove blisters and damaged skin. On Wednesday, they should find out if skin graphs will be used.
Her parents had homeowner's insurance for the cabin, and Bezotte said her dad thinks it should cover their injuries. And while her parents have health insurance, her sister does not.
Bezotte said her sister and her sister's husband, Shaun Dalen, are living with her parents in Pasco right now while Shaun Dalen recovers from a back injury he suffered about a year ago.
An account has been set up at Gesa Credit Union under Stephanie Dalen's name. Donations will be used to help with Stephanie Dalen's and her parents' medical expenses from the burn injuries.
Bezotte asks that people wait to call Bob and Lucy Hawks and Stephanie Dalen until after the family has returned to Pasco. Cards can be sent to the family on the eighth floor of Harborview, but flowers and other nonsterile items are not allowed.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org