Man dies in Bremerton fire; dog dies trying to save him



Posted on February 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 11:52 AM

BREMERTON, Wash. -- Firefighters in Bremerton are investigating a fatal house fire Sunday morning.

It happened just before 5 a.m. in the 6600 block of NE Wellsly Place. When crews arrived at the scene, the home was completely engulfed in flames.

“You heard windows kind of pop then all of a sudden you see flames come out from everywhere,” said Jess West, a neighbor who called 911.

Three adults and four children, including a friend who was sleeping over, made it out safely.

“They actually crawled on their hands and knees through a garage,” said Shawn Kreifels, whose ex-wife and daughter escaped the burning home.

A man in his 30s, a family friend, was found dead in the living room.

“His best friend was trying to wake him up and he wasn’t able to,” said Kreifels.

According to Kriefels, The family’s St. Bernard “Chevy” also died in the fire, trying to wake the victim up by barking.

Despite a devastating loss, Kriefels knows this tragedy could have been worse.

“I can’t help but shake my head and look at my daughter and give her a hug and realize how close it was to having a different result,” he said.

While investigators search for a cause, the family believes the fire started in the basement.  With the home now unlivable, the Red Cross is assisting the family with housing. The organization is also paying for a family member who is currently overseas on duty in Japan to fly home to be with his family.

“I hope I pray for the best for them it’s going to be a hard time,” said West.