Good Samaritan helps evacuate N. Spokane apartment during fire

Good Samaritan helps evacuate N.

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Good Samaritan is one of the people being credited for helping people safely evacuate a north Spokane apartment complex when it caught fire Wednesday.

Officials said Antoney Jones, 22, saw the fire at the Rosewood Club Apartments on Magnesium Road before it was reported around 4:00 p.m. He then went to the second floor of the apartment complex and found people trapped in one of the units, according to officials. He broke down the door, tried to rescue the victims but was pushed back by heat.

Authorities said Jones then went to each apartment himself helping with the evacuation. He also managed to save two dogs and two cats from the fire.

He stayed on scene, told firefighters at least one person was trapped and he could hear people screaming for help. He told officials he did not stick around after the incident because he did not want any fanfare and he was not a hero.

Officials said two people died in the fire and a firefighter was injured. Firefighter Charles “Chuck” McKenzie suffered second and third degree burns to his shoulders and was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said his injuries will require surgery and skin grafts. They are confident he will recover and eventually return to work.    

Maureen Walsh was napping when the fire broke out in the apartment above her. She said she knew the two people who died.

"He was taking care of her. She might have had an aide, but I know he was caring for her. Yeah, they were really nice people," said Walsh.

Walsh said she saw Jones' heroic acts firsthand.

"I ran into him and he told me he was getting people out," Walsh said.

Officials said the female victim was mostly confined to a wheelchair. Investigators say both victims were known smokers. It is believed smoking in bed contributed to the fire. They also found an overloaded power strip in the apartment. But all factors lead officials to say this fire was simply a terrible, tragic accident.

Officials say their preliminary investigation is over. The building has been turned back over the apartment complex owners. Walsh said her apartment suffered a lot of water damage, but it will be several more days before she can even get inside to see it herself.

KREM


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