Deadly Bonney Lake mobile home fire 'accidental'

Firefighters work to douse a blaze at a Bonney Lake mobile home (East Pierce Fire & Rescue photo)

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- Investigators said Wednesday morning's deadly fire in Bonney Lake was accidental. A man in a wheelchair was killed, but four people made it out.

A rescue attempt almost took a second life when one of the men who got out tried to go back in to get the man in the wheelchair, but the flames and smoke were just too much. He had to be rushed to the hospital.

East Pierce Fire crews say the fire took off in a hurry. They got there nine minutes after the call came in at 5:30 a.m. but flames were everywhere - no chance of getting in.

"Lots of fire, lots of smoke," said neighbor Tetyana Khursenko. "So it's very scary. And I find that one of the guys died which is very sad."

Another man in a wheelchair made it out safely as did two women after an alert by smoke detectors. The exact cause hasn't been made public yet, other than it was accidental and it started in the man's bedroom.

"It sounds like he did smoke and he was using oxygen," said fire chief Bud Backer. "Now whether he was using it at the time we don't know." It was also a cold morning, but they don't yet know if a space heater was involved.

They did however keep the flames from getting to Khursenko's garage 20 feet away. Her 8-week-old labrador puppies were inside. The 10 dogs were kept safe. "I'm very thankful to fire workers. They did a great job not letting any fire on my side. Just the fence. That is okay. It is fixable."

"They brought the puppies back a little while ago," said Chief Backer. "Having them around kind of brought a smile to some folks in a grim situation."

The chief believes some or all of the people at the home were related. Now they have to find a new place to live, but we're told they have other family members that can put them up as they try to go on from this tragic day.

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