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Unidentified passer-by saves local family from possible tragedy

Early Tuesday morning a family of four was awakened by a man pounding on their door to warn them their house was on fire.

Yakima County Fire District No. 5, assisted by Sunnyside firefighters, were called to the house fire in the 6700 block of Independence Road at 6:03 a.m. on Tuesday.

The command unit arrived to find an attic fire with flames showing. Sunnyside station 13 engine 213 arrived out of Sunnyside and immediately put water on the fire from the outside. Tanker truck 813 from the same station arrived and the crew put packs on and entered the home to start pulling down the ceiling in the kitchen where firefighters believe the fire originated.

The fire is under investigation by the fire marshal's office in Yakima but it appears to have been caused by an electrical malfunction.

"We found a light fixture that looked like it had some arcing," Yakima County Fire District 5 Captain Antonio Castillo said.

Castillo said damage was estimated at between $10,000 and $15,000, most of it in the attic area.

"The downstairs was pretty much untouched," he said. "There was hardly any smoke damage."

The family was asleep in the home when a passer-by noticed the fire and stopped. Castillo said he pounded on the front door, waking up the family, enabling them to get out. The home did not have any working smoke detectors and Castillo said if the passer-by would not have stopped, the family would not have been alerted.

It took 45 minutes for crews to put the fire completely out.

Castillo would like the unknown passer-by to contact him at 830-3688 so he can get more information on the fire.

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