1 dead in SeaTac home fire, officials investigating

Puget Sound firefighters were busy Sunday morning with, not one, but two two-alarm fires before sunrise.

In one of the fires, a woman died.

The scenes are a gut-punch for first responders and neighbors as flames tore through people's homes.

"Firefighters have a heavy heart today because we've lost one of our citizens, and we take that personal, because we're here to protect them," Puget Sound Fire Department's Pat Pawlak said.

It was a horrific scene in SeaTac, where a woman was found dead after a two-alarm house fire just after 3:30 a.m. on South 200th Street.

Firefighters found flames shooting out of the front and back of the house and another person who lives there, outside and hurt.

"It's tragic for the family, and I've talked to both the son and the son-in-law, very tragic for both of them and their family members," Pawlak said.

With help from other departments, the fire was out in 45 minutes, but crews kept spraying hotspots.

A little more than an hour before that, Puget Sound firefighters were on the scene of yet another two-alarm fire.

That one, in an apartment building on Fifth Avenue South in Kent just after 2 a.m.

Christine Myers saw it all.

"There was flames shooting up and we could hear people yelling and screaming," she said.

Neighbors told FOX 13 News they helped one another get out safely as the fire spread quickly.

One person was hurt, according to fire officials.

"It was engulfed. They had to get up there with three chainsaws and cut the roof open," Myers said.

Puget Sound firefighters said 15 people who live in the apartment building are being helped by the American Red Cross.

While it's not clear yet if smoke detectors were working in both cases, officials said they are crucial.

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"Smoke detectors are definitely an early warning. Whether it's during the day or at night. They're going to certainly detect the smoke, they're going to alert the residents of a fire potential issue," Pawlak said.

Officials said the medical examiner's office will be performing an autopsy to determine the woman's cause of death.

According to investigators, both fires are believed to be accidental.