Fire destroyed most of the upstairs level of a single-family home in the Crossroads neighborhood of Bellevue early this morning, but the four occupants made it out safely. One resident who went back into the burning house just barely escaped.
Firefighters from Bellevue and Redmond responded to the 400 block of 156th Avenue Southeast after residents reported the blaze from a neighbor's house at 2:05 a.m.
A working smoke detector alerted everyone in the house. Three sleeping residents along with one awake at a computer were then able to get out safely. Then the owner of the house, a 77-year-old man, decided to return to get some personal items.
His 27-year-old grandson joined him and they both made it to an upstairs bedroom, but smoke and flames blocked their exit. Fortunately, they were able to exit through a window onto a lower roof and then lower themselves to the ground using a trash-toter as a step.
A total of four fire engines and two ladder trucks responded to the fire. Also on scene was a command vehicle, a medical officer, an aid car and a medic unit. There were no injuries to fire crews, but two of the residents were taken to the hospital for a precautionary checkup.
Bellevue Fire investigators determined that the fire was caused by an unattended candle, left burning on a plastic plate for about four hours. The preliminary damage estimate is $350,000.
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