SPOKANE, Wash. – A 3-year-old who died in a fire in North Spokane was found huddled with his dog, who stayed by his side, and a teddy bear.
It happened just before 11:30 p.m. on Friday night at a home on East Longfellow Road near North Myrtle Street.
Officials said firefighters arrived within minutes of the call and several people were able to escape from the home, including other young children.
"I heard this commotion on the street and immediately knew because the flames were coming out of their house," a neighbor said.
The neighbor did not wish to be identified.
As his wife dialed, he began frantically pulling out his hose to help douse the flames.
When crews arrived they went inside looking for people.
"The mom was out there yelling out ‘my baby's in there, my baby's in there.’ It was just devastating, it was heartbreaking," the neighbor said.
Firefighters then found one child dead inside the home shortly after making entry. Officials said the home did not have working smoke detectors.
Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaefer said the little boy, whose identity has not been released to the public, and his terrier mix were found huddled together.
"They went in to find the three-year-old boy and his dog had already succumbed to their injuries, pretty severe injuries," Schaefer said.
Once the fire was put out, Spokane Fire Department’s Special Investigative Unit as well as Spokane Police Major Crimes Detectives responded to the scene. Both agencies will be investigating the incident.
"Unfortunately the growth was incredible. There was a huge amount of heat. Likely upwards to about a thousand degrees toward the floor of the fire bedroom where the child was located," Schaefer said.
He said two adults and four children were in the home including the boy.
"Circumstances were just not on our side. Smoke detectors in the residence had the batteries removed, obviously they didn't work, there was no early notification. And the three-year-old wasn't able to escape," Schaefer said.
Schaefer said the circumstances surrounding the incident will make it be difficult for those involved to accept.
"This is one of those calls as a professional fire fighter you just don't forget," Schaefer said.
"I saw the fire man crying, he was sitting on the rear bumper of the fire truck. I was actually broke into tears too. It was kind of an emotional evening," the neighbor said.
No one else was injured. Anyone who witnessed the fire who has not already talked to investigators is asked to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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