Two children die in Ketchikan house fire

Two other youths critically injured in kitchen blaze

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2007

ANCHORAGE - Two young children are dead and two others are in critical condition after a kitchen fire in Ketchikan on Saturday.

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A 3-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy were confirmed dead at the scene of injuries due to smoke inhalation, said Ketchikan Public Safety Director Rich Leipfert.

A 12-year-old girl was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and a 17-year-old boy treated at Ketchikan General Hospital was expected to be flown to Seattle also, said Leipfert.

Ketchikan police officers said they helped Jeff Williams, who owns the building, escape through a window on the house's main level, said Leipfert. Williams was uninjured.

A man and dog living in a basement apartment escaped on their own, and were also uninjured, said Leipfert.

Authorities arrived to find the kitchen on the main floor burning, with the four children one floor above, said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Hill.

"They got that knocked down quickly, then concentrated on getting victims out from the top floor," Hill said.

The four children came from three different families, Hill said.

The police department has taken the lead in investigating the cause of the fire, said Leipfert.

Responders included 32 people from Ketchikan Fire Department, five from South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department, nine from North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department and a number of officers from Ketchikan Police Department, Hill said.

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