RICHLAND, WA - A cause has now been determined for the fire that killed one man in Richland Monday afternoon.
The deceased's caretaker and an eye witness claims the victim was smoking in bed while on oxygen. The caretaker was washing dishes when the victim yelled for help. When the caretaker went into the room, they found several small fires on the bed.
The oxygen nasal canula on the victim's face had caught fire and acted as a fuse, and by that time too much of the room was on fire for it to be put out.
The caretaker attempted to get the victim out of the house through the back of the room, through the kitchen and into the living room. The caretaker had to set the victim down for a moment to open the door, and by that time the house had filled up with a lot of smoke and heat. The caretaker heard an explosion or loud pop and felt a large amount of air pressure push him out of the house.
After he was pushed out of the house, he realized he couldn't go back inside due to the amount of smoke and flames, so he ran across the street to get help.
When firefighters got to the scene, they found the victim and pulled him outside. He later died at the hospital.
As for the caretaker, he's been released from the hospital.
4-17-18 ORIGINAL STORY:
RICHLAND, WA - The man who was inside Monday afternoon's house fire has died. We have not yet heard back from the coroner to find out who the man was.
We do know the Richland Fire Department and the Richland Police Department will be coming back to the scene Wednesday morning to finish their investigation.
In any case like this, an arson investigation must be done. That doesn't necessarily mean the fire was set on purpose, but we're told new information should be released tomorrow.
We're told someone tried to get inside to reach the elderly man during the fire, but was unable to. First responders then had to put the fire out before going inside.
Crews attempted CPR on the man, but he did not survive.
How the fire started is still under investigation.
The other person who tried to reach the man suffered smoke inhalation; no word yet on their condition.