Crime

Finley mom, 2 kids in serious condition after candle starts fire

The aftermath of a manufactured home that caught on fire in the Homestead Manufactured Housing Community in Kennewick at 203106 E Bowles Road.
The aftermath of a manufactured home that caught on fire in the Homestead Manufactured Housing Community in Kennewick at 203106 E Bowles Road. Tri-City Herald

A candle in a bathroom is suspected of sparking a fire that badly burned a 7-year-old boy and hospitalized his mother and sister.

But it may have been worse if not for the efforts of a neighbor who spotted the early Wednesday blaze in the manufactured home in Finley.

The home in the Homestead Manufactured Housing Community at 203106 E. Bowles Road had no smoke detectors, said Lt. Tracy Baker, with Benton County Fire District 1.

Vitalina Birrueta-Moreno, 40, was asleep at home with her three children when the lit candle fell into a bathtub, said Benton County Fire District 1 officials.

Her neighbor, Jose Alvarez Fernandez, spotted the smoke and helped get them out, officials said.

When firefighters arrived at 1:15 a.m., Birrueta-Moreno and her kids were safely at the neighbors but her home was filled with thick black smoke. Fire crews contained the fire damage to a bathroom and bedroom.

Birrueta-Moreno and her 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Her son suffered second-degree burns on his face and hands, and Birrueta-Moreno inhaled a lot of smoke.

Both daughters were checked at Trios Southridge Hospital. One was later flown to Harborview and the other is staying with an aunt while the rest of the family is being treated.

All three in Seattle are in serious condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Baker stressed the importance of having smoke alarms in a house. She said the family was lucky to make it outside.

“Fire departments and the American Red Cross will provide and install smoke alarms,” she said.

Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402, @cameroncprobert

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