Father devastated after losing two daughters in Curlew fire

Author: McKay Allen
Published On: Sep 09 2011 02:13:39 PM PDT   Updated On: Dec 31 2009 06:50:32 AM PST
SPOKANE -

John Ryken is a man both devastated and in mourning. Four days before Christmas his two daughters were killed and his wife badly burned in the Curlew apartment building fire.

At the time of the fire John was living in Airway Heights. He and his wife had been separated but since the fire, where Amanda had to jump out a second-story window on fire with severe burns, he has been by her side at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

?I feel lost because my kids are gone, there's nothing I can do about that now,? he said.

His two daughters, Gail and Helen Brown. ages 2 and 3, were killed in their bedroom in their apartment in Curlew.

?My step-mother-in-law was frantic,? John recalled. ?She said a fire broke out in the old school apartments, Amanda was hurt and the kids were gone.?

The fire broke in the middle of the night four days before Christmas in the old school house turned apartment complex in Curlew. The fire spread quickly. Neighbors in adjacent units could hear the two little girls screaming but couldn't get to them in time.

The girls and their grandmother died in the flames huddled together at the foot of a bed. The girls? mother Amanda leapt burning from a second story window.

Now John Ryken is trying to pick up the pieces of his life and put everything back together.

?I?m devastated because they're gone. I?ve got to force myself to get up every morning, force myself to get out of bed,? he said.

The only solace he has is that his girls died together with their grandma.

?I know that I'll see them again, I know they're in good hands, the lord's up there with them. Their grandma's up there,? he said.

?They're in good company.?