BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man has improved to serious condition at Harborview Medical Center after he suffered severe burns over his entire body while trying to save his sister from a fatal fire at a doublewide mobile home on Lincoln Street, a hospital spokeswoman said Friday, April 19.
Larry Manning, 60, couldn't wake his sister as flames swept through her bedroom at 12:20 a.m. Wednesday, at 1200 Lincoln St., lot 115. Bloodied and badly burned, he climbed to his neighbors' front door to ask for help. They didn't recognize him, until he said the name of his sister, Nancy Brink, 63.
She died in the fire.
Firefighters rushed Manning to St. Joseph hospital. Soon afterward he was airlifted to Seattle's Harborview in critical condition. He remained in intensive care Friday, but doctors now consider his condition to be serious.
"Obviously he has a long way to go," said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg. "But he's doing better."
Firefighters have closed an investigation into the fire: It started somewhere on or in the bed, but the actual cause remained undetermined. The home had no working smoke alarms.
Several neighbors said Brink sometimes smoked in bed. She bought "fire-safe" name-brand cigarettes, however, so firefighters felt less inclined to conclude the flames were sparked by a smoldering cigarette, said Bellingham Fire Marshal Bill Napier. (All pre-rolled cigarettes sold in Washington state since August 2009 have been designed to extinguish quicker than standard cigarettes.)
Investigators sifted through the charred remnants of electric outlets, an alarm clock and lamps. They found nothing to suggest an electrical fire. And they've found no evidence of foul play.