West Seattle woman found dead after apartment fire


SEATTLE - Seattle police and fire investigators are trying to find out what caused a deadly apartment fire in West Seattle. 

The fire ripped through one apartment unit at the Wisteria Court apartment complex on 24th Avenue Southwest. 

Firefighters found a 49-year-old woman’s body inside her apartment. 

A Seattle Police Crime Scene unit arrived on the scene early Tuesday morning. 

Detectives walked into the burnt unit to investigate the cause. 

That left neighbors wondering what happened in the second floor unit where a 49-year-old the woman had lived for less than two years. 

 “…Sorry,” Dora Blackburn said fighting back tears.

 Blackburn and her husband said they heard their neighbors yelling outside and woke up.

The neighbors said there was water coming from the woman’s apartment.

Blackburn ran to try and save the woman.

"I pounded on the door... tried to pound on the door to see if she was in there and I opened the door and just got bombarded with a bunch of dark smoke," she said. 

It was too late. 

Seattle firefighters responded just before 4:30 a.m.

“[Firefighters] made their way into the bedroom of this unit and found an adult female on the ground next to the bed. The bed had been charred," said Kyle Moore, public information officer for the Seattle Fire Department. 

The sprinkler system worked but was located in the hallway, said Moore.

Blackburn says her smoke alarm went off but: "They weren't very loud. They need to update those," she said. 

Neighbor LaQurisha Russ says she's reported faulty alarms before. 

“When it's not smoking it won't go off; when it is smoking we have to press the button for it to beep twice," she said. 

Neighbors hope the cause is determined, for their peace of mind and for the victim's family. 

"She was always cordial. Nice and it's just really sad," said Blackburn.

KIRO 7 called the Seattle Housing Authority which owns the mixed-income building. 

They say the smoke alarms were upgraded in 2009; the smoke alarms and sprinkler system worked and passed the last yearly inspection in June.           

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