North Idaho

Two critically injured in Coeur d'Alene apartment fire

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The Coeur d'Alene Fire Department reports a log accidentally rolled out of a fireplace, leading to a fire that critically injured two people and sent six more to the hospital Friday morning at a four-unit apartment complex in the 4200 block of Crown Avenue.

The two critically injured people -- a 28-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman -- suffered from burns and smoke inhalation and were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Additionally, six children were taken to Kootenai Medical Center, treated and released.

In all, Coeur d'Alene firefighters rescued 12 people and two dogs who lived in the apartment complex.

"I woke up at 5:45, my alarm clock and I smelled smoke and my dog was going crazy, so I woke up my kids and I went in the living room, it was full of smoke and I could feel the heat on the stairways and I was getting my kids out and the neighbor below me, Jesse, was laying on the stairs burned and the whole building was on fire," Corie McNearney, a mother of four whose family was displaced by the fire, said.

"I got everybody out and put them in my vehicle and started it so they could be warm and then we just watched the windows bust and flames just went insane and then the fire trucks got here and we all had to go to the hospital, she added. "We all were in the hospital for smoke inhalation."

Officials at the scene say a log rolled out of a fireplace and caught a carpet and chair on fire. There was one solitary smoke detector working in the complex at the time of the fire.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames within five minutes, but investigators say the fire moved very quickly because there was so much wood inside the complex.

"The floors between the bottom units and top units, half of them were burned out. The top of the stairwell's been burned out so we're not letting anybody in. We're locking this down tight," Coeur d'Alene Fire investigator Bobby Gonder said.

The Red Cross is at the apartment complex assisting with the victims who were displaced from their homes.

"I am a single mom of four on disability and I lost everything but I have my kids," McNearney said.

The apartment complex sustained extensive damage.