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"I think we would be dead," Kennewick woman shares survival story after serious house fire

Kennewick Fire units along with Benton County Fire Dist. #1, Pasco Fire and Richland Fire responded to reports of a large fire located between two homes, 1711 and 1719 S Rainier. (Photo courtesy: Sam Rambo)

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Two Kennewick families are displaced after an early morning fire destroyed their homes.

Action News was on scene and talked to a resident who said she feels lucky to be alive.

"They just kept barking and I looked out the window and all I saw was orange,” Romelia Sanchez-Noyola said. “Then I ran outside and I saw fire."

Around 3 a.m., Sanchez-Noyola said her dogs woke her up. She was met with flames right outside her bedroom window.

Terrified, she rushed to call 911, and her husband ran outside to see what was happening.

"Romey! Get the dogs! We need to get out of the house, the house caught on fire!" her husband called out to her.

She grabbed the only things she could--her pets and purse--then ran out the door.

Video taken by a neighbor, Sam Rambo, shows the tall flames billowing from the houses. Rambo described the blaze as raging and hot. He was fearful it would spread to his home too and he started spraying his roof with the garden hose.

Firefighters said this is evidence of how quickly flames can spread.

"It can grow exponentially, doubling, tripling, quadrupling every few minutes,” Fire Inspector Brian Ellis said. “So time is of the essence."

No one is immune from being a victim of a house fire, Ellis said. Therefore, he urges everyone to make sure they have working smoke alarms and have viable exit plans.

"It is going to save your life, absolutely give you the time that it takes to get out of your house if something happens," he said.

In the initial investigation on the 1700 block of Rainier, inspectors think the fire started on the outside of the house, before it spread to the neighbor’s home. The fire is not thought to be suspicious, Ellis said.

With how severe this fire was, Sanchez-Noyola is grateful she and her longtime neighbors got out alive.

"My adrenaline was so sky high I was more concerned about my neighbors than myself," she said.

But without her pups, PJ, Blue and Bear, she doesn't think they would have made it.

"I think we would be dead because our bedroom faces the wall that was on fire," she said.

She said she's grateful for her little protectors.

"My husband said we need to get them a big steak,” she said with a slight grin. “So that's what we're going to do."

After saving her and her husband’s life, she said they deserve it.

Luckily, no one was injured in this incident and all pets got out safely too. The Red Cross has reached out to help both families. Both residents said they also have relatives nearby.

Fire investigators have completed their site evaluation and hope to determine the cause of the fire in the coming days.

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