SEATTLE - A man in his 50s is in critical condition with smoke inhalation and burns after an early morning fire at a house packed with combustible materials.
Firefighters were called to the home in the 1800 block of South Lane Street in Seattle’s Central District at 1:53 a.m. Wednesday.
Fire crews said they had to work their way through and around waist- and shoulder-high objects that fueled the fire.
They managed to get around them and pull out the unconscious and unresponsive occupant.
Firefighters had to perform CPR on the man at the scene for eight minutes before he was transported to Harborview Medical Center.
Crews said the house was full of combustible materials that made fighting the fire a challenge.
A neighbor told KIRO 7 he broke down the door to try to rescue the man inside but was unable to get inside because of heavy smoke and heat from the flames.
Firefighters said they were lucky not to be injured themselves.
“They didn't describe exactly what it was, but they were slipping all over the place. You have to imagine firefighters go in there -- it's not like the movies, it's completely black, filled with smoke -- you don't see anything and you're slipping and sliding on that material. It makes it a lot more difficult for firefighters,” said Seattle fire spokesman Kyle Moore.
Firefighters would not comment on whether there was a hoarding situation inside the home, but said it took nearly one hour and 10 minutes to extinguish the fire because of the large volume of combustible material inside the house.
Crews said they will be monitoring the home throughout the day to ensure it doesn’t reignite.
Investigators said the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.
The damage estimate is $100,000 to the structure and $50,000 to the contents.