On Saturday, August 12, a home in the Pacific Estates neighborhood went up in flames at around 2:24 a.m. It started from the backyard and spread quickly, even engulfing the resident’s vehicle that was parked in the front driveway.
Lin Yang, 40, who lives two houses down said, “The flames were like three stories tall. It was like a gigantic bonfire.”
Five fire engines from Eastside Fire and Rescue arrived onsite just 10 minutes after receiving the call with a total of 22 personnel, including Red Cross staff to help the resident. However, before the rescuers responded, the resident’s next-door neighbor, Joannie Masters, did.
According to Yang, the 74-year-old Masters woke up to a popping noise and thought someone was breaking into her house. When she looked outside, she realized that she had been hearing the sound of burning wood.
“She saw this big bright fireball in the backyard of her neighbor’s house. When she looked at the front yard and saw no one was there, she realized that the guy’s still inside,” Yang said, conveying what Masters told him.
She ran over to the burning house and rang the doorbell. After receiving no response, she entered the burning home through the unlocked door, and then proceeded to scream for the resident to leave the house. The resident seemed disoriented, likely due to smoke inhalation.
According to Eastside Fire and Rescue’s public record, the house did not have any sort of auto extinguishing system, which allowed the fire to spread even quicker.
Masters helped the resident exit the house, but the resident re-entered the home in an attempt to put out the fire. After realizing it was futile, he came back out, and they stood in Masters’ driveway while emergency responders worked to contain the blaze.
Masters’ home remained relatively unharmed, and the fire did not spread to any other properties, according to Yang. Thankfully, due to a lack of wind and the timely emergency response, the fire was contained to the home.
According to Eastside Fire and Rescue, the incident lasted for nearly five hours, with the last unit cleared at 7:15 a.m. The 1,500-square-foot home was completely destroyed. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Thanks to Masters’ quick response, the resident was able to evacuate the house in time.
“She’s a hero. She saved this guy’s life,” Yang said.
Disclaimer: Lin Yang is the current board chair for the Sammamish Independent. We quoted him in this story due to his role as a neighbor and witness to this incident.