A Yelm man broke a window in the bedroom where his twin stepdaughters slept and was able to save them from a smokey fire this morning.
The 9-year-old girls were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in critical condition and suffering from smoke inhalation.
“He saved their lives,” said Fire Chief Rita Hutcheson with Southeast Thurston Fire and EMS. “The stepdad broke out the bedroom window from the outside and got them out. Otherwise it could have been much worse.”
One of the girls had second degree burns on one of her arms, Hutcheson said, adding that their injuries were not as bad as first feared.
Both parents and a 13-year-old sister escaped the 2:15 a.m. fire and were not injured.
Their single story wood frame house is located at 16200 118th Lane SE, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department.
Hutcheson said that when firefighters arrived the house was full of smoke. The fire was contained to the living room and a sofa and was quickly extinguished.
The twins were asleep in their bedroom in the back of the house with the door open which allowed the smoke to enter the room. Doors to the other bedrooms were closed.
“The older daughter told a firefighter that she heard crackling and smelled smoke,” Hutcheson said. “She had a window next to her bed. She went out and alerted her parents.”
She said they found no working smoke alarms in the house.
Hutcheson said the fire appears to be accidental and was caused by an electrical failure. A lamp was plugged in behind the sofa where the fire occurred, she said.
Hutcheson said the fire must have started earlier and smoldered for some time, spreading smoke throughout the house.
She said the house isn’t habitable now, adding that the Red Cross will be notified if the parents need help. The family still was at Harborview this morning, she said.
Firefighters from Southeast Thurston and Lacey responded to the fire.