A Tukwila family is now trying to recover from a devastating house fire late Friday afternoon from which a resident was rescued by two Tukwila Police officers.
The resident, an adult male, was later arrested for investigation of setting the fire that caused about $200,000 damage, according to the Tukwila Fire Department. It’s likely the house is a total loss.
Armen Papyan, a family member and 2015 graduate of Foster High School, has set up a gofundme account, with a goal of $50,000 to help the seven-member family.
“Unfortunately, Friday afternoon on March 11, 2016 a fire burned down our home,” he wrote. “All laptops, documents, clothes, memories are burned down and all that is left is their clothes on their back.”
Two Tukwila Police officers, Dean Kolstad and Jason Wollan, arrived at the fire in the 5600 block of South 150th Street at about 4:45 p.m. before fire crews. They were alerted that a family member was still inside.
The house was full of smoke when the officers went inside, suffering smoke inhalation during the rescue. The man also inhaled smoke and all three were treated at the scene and then taken to hospitals as a precaution, according to a Tukwila Fire Department news release.
The officers were treated and released; the man’s injuries were not life-threatening, according to the news release.
“We would like to recognize the bravery and express our respect to the officers who risked their lives to rescue the male occupant,” Grisham said in the news release.
Smoke and flames were coming from second-floor windows as fire crews arrived. The intense flames melted siding on houses next door.
“Crews did an excellent quick attack on the fire and were able to prevent it from catching the neighboring houses on fire,” Grisham said.
Police and fire officers determined early that the fire was intentionally set, according to Grisham, and investigators are determining the exact cause of the fire.
Mayor Allan Ekberg went to the scene of the fire on Friday. He had attended a national conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month with Armen Papyan and his brother Araik, who are members of Teens for Tukwila.
He asked them what he could do for the family; their first thought was baby formula for their 2-year-old cousin. He went out and bought some.
“I cried in Washington, D.C., with these boys this week after hearing of their stories and would like to help get them back on their feet and support their family of seven,” he wrote in an email to city employees. “Maybe you would too.”
Units from Renton Fire Department and the Kent Fire Authority assisted Tukwila units at the fire.
The house fire was one of two major fires in Tukwila in three days. The other was an apartment fire just off Tukwila International Boulevard early Monday morning.
Grisham stressed the two fires were in no way related. And, the intentionally set house fire does not mean there’s a threat to other homes because police have arrested a suspect in the fire, he said.