Fire at Hillyard house leaves four homeless

SPOKANE, Wash. - Four people and their cats are displaced tonight after a fire ripped through their Hillyard home on North Regal street tonight. 

Fire crews were called to the scene around 8 pm Friday night, and discovered heavy smoke coming from the attic. The fire quickly spread lower into the second story of the home. 

Once inside the home, firefighters experienced a smoke explosion on the second story and were forced to back out.

Fire at Hillyard house leaves four homeless

The construction of the home also made it more difficult to extinguish the flames.

"What they explained to me was, what appeared to them as a renovated second floor.  So if you can imagine an older home, 1900's era home that's been renovated multiple times, there's a lot of concealed spaces and what they call knee walls, that's where the fire was.  [It] wasn't accessible easily, had a lot of oxygen to continue fire growth while companies making their way up there," Asst. Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said. "Even though we are an aggressive department, and we have awesome, awesome people, we really did have a difficult time with this fire."

The house was home to three generations, including a grandmother, mother and two sons. All four escaped the burning home safely and received assistance from the Red Cross. One cat was rescued by firefighters, but two other cats were killed in the fire from the smoke and extreme heat.

Fire crews stayed on the scene overnight and into Saturday morning.