by: Kevin McCarty Updated:
LAKEWOOD, Wash. - 911 recordings show how neighbor helped neighbor as a deadly fire spread through a Lakewood apartment complex early Wednesday morning. Just after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Lakewood Fire Department was called to the Morning Tree Apartments at 8301 83rd Avenue Southwest. Upon arrival, fire crews saw heavy flames coming from one apartment in the complex.
Lakewood Fire told KIRO 7 that neighbors let them know immediately that there were two people still inside the apartment. Once the fire was knocked down sufficiently for a search, firefighters discovered the bodies of 78-year-old woman and a 64-year-old man inside the apartment. The identities of the victims have not been released, but police believe the two were husband and wife.
Before firefighters arrived one man went door to door warning his neighbors while calling 911 for help. "Hey everybody's got to get out of the building, the building's on fire," the man can be heard shouting on 911 recordings released Thursday by South Sound 911. "Are you calling about Morning Tree Park?" the dispatcher asked. "Yes sir," answered the caller. The dispatcher then warned the man to get to safety. "OK, we've got the fire department notified. I want you to exit the building," the dispatcher instructed. "Pull the fire alarm and exit." "I'm trying to get everyone out of the building," the man is heard to say as he pounded on doors. "OK, thank you," answered the dispatcher, warning the man, "don't endanger yourself."
The families on either side of that apartment have been displaced. The Red Cross is assisting those families.
Police said a preliminary investigation revealed that the man living in the apartment came out to yell for help, but went back inside to save the woman. The fire does not appear to be suspicious and the cause is still under investigation.