Washington state

Woman injured; officials believe son, 4, started blaze in Spokane

A 4-year-old playing with a lighter probably started a fire Friday morning that seriously injured his mother and destroyed their east Spokane home, a fire official said.

The woman, Tawnia Embree, woke up in a bedroom and saw smoke and felt intense heat, said Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer, of the Spokane Fire Department.

The 29-year-old told fire investigators that she called out to her son, who had fled the home. Embree suffered burns and smoke inhalation as she escaped, Schaeffer said.

Embree was in serious condition Friday evening at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Roberta Taufen, Embree’s sister, said her nephew did not appear to have suffered serious injuries, but he was expected to spend the night in the hospital for observation.

Schaeffer stressed that sources of fire should be kept out of reach of children. “They’re in that age ... when curiosity rules,” Schaeffer said. “In this case, the consequences almost were lethal. We’re pretty lucky she’s still alive.”

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane