Passers-by Rescue Residents of Burning Building

Published: August 7, 2007 | 6579th good news item since 2003

Residents of a burning Bellevue building are calling passers-by “heroes” because they helped them get out in time, early Tuesday morning.

Only two people suffered minor injuries in the the fire at Poplar and Foote streets in Bellevue.

Just after the fire broke out, around 3 a.m., flames could be seen for several blocks as it started to break out windows in the building’s second floor apartments.

The two-story wood frame building has the “All Occasions Beauty Salon” in the first floor store front with apartments above. It appears the fire started either in those apartments or the roof.

Eventually, the fire caused large parts of the roof to cave into the second floor hallways and apartments.

Fortunately, passers-by spotted the smoke and then the flames and started banging on doors and windows to wake the residents up.

The owner of the building and the beauty salon, Barbara Wooding, lived in one of those upstairs apartments. She credits those passersby with saving her life and the lives of the three grandchildren who live with her. Wooding tells 9News, “By the time the young boys got there, there was already a lot of smoke. I have 13 interconnected smoke detectors in the building and they didn’t go off.”

Asked if the passersby were heroes, Wooding says, “Yes. Oh, yeah, saved our lives, absolutely.”

Wooding says she and another resident suffered slight burns and scrapes, when the fire suddenly exploded as they were escaping. But she says those injuries were minor enough that all they needed were treatment at the scene.

One of the rescuers, Darryl Wynn, tells 9News, that he was just driving by the building and saw the smoke. He circled back around and he and his friend started knocking on doors and windows to get residents up and out of the building. Wynn says even as smoke started to build up, he ran inside and up to the 2nd floor to warn residents, some of whom didn’t believe the building was on fire.

Now, Bellevue firefighters are starting the difficult task of searching for a cause for this fire that’s left at least 2 families homeless.

Wooding tells us she’s called this building home for the last 30 years. Now, she and her family are looking to try to start their lives over again. The American Red Cross has already been on the scene to help Wooding and her tenants find alternative housing.

Wooding says she recently paid up all her insurance premiums, so she’s hoping that will provide enough money to rebuild or restart her business and find a new home.

Published in Rescues
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