One dead, four hurt in Renton house fire

RENTON, Wash. — One person is dead, and four others were hurt after a fire broke out at a house in the Renton Highlands overnight.

Firefighters from Renton Regional Fire Authority were called to the home on Queen Place Northeast and Northeast Fifth Street at 2:15 a.m. Friday.

Neighbor Mario Chan’s doorbell camera recorded video of the fire across the street, where explosions could be heard.

Before fire crews arrived, Chan and a neighbor jumped into action. They grabbed a ladder and helped four people trapped on the second floor down to safety.

“Looks like a dad and a mom, a 14-month-old and a child,” said Chan.

He said there were two more people they weren’t able to reach.

Firefighters arrived to find the first floor engulfed in flames and the fire spreading quickly.

“Something made it happen quick. Fire increased quickly,” said Renton Regional Assistant Fire Chief Roy Gunsoluz.

A second alarm was called to summon more resources due to the number of people hurt.

One person died in the fire. Another person was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition, and two more were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. A firefighter also injured his hand but will be OK.

Fire officials said they believed the flames started in the basement and quickly spread upward. They later determined there was a gas leak found at a 90-degree bend in the gas line and caused a buildup of gas in the area of the furnace. They also suspected there was a mechanical failure in the furnace that caused the ignition.

The radiant heat from the flames was so intense that adjacent homes to the north and south had exterior damage. Siding was seen falling off one house.

Chan and other neighbors told investigators they saw Puget Sound Energy working in the neighborhood the evening before, but PSE said crews were a few houses away from the house that caught fire after they received a complaint about natural gas odor.

PSE turned off the gas at a neighbor’s home, found a leak and fixed it. Crews checked for residual gas in the area and found none before leaving around midnight.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is involved in the investigation because fire crews found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in the home.

Firefighters from Tukwila, Skyway and Bellevue responded as well as King County Medic One and Zone 3 Fire Explorers.