Yakima woman dead after house fire, officials still investigating

MOXEE, Wash. -- East Valley fire officials are still investigating a house fire in Moxee that took the life of a woman early Thursday morning.

Firefighters said someone passing by noticed smoke coming from the home and stopped to help.

A good samaritan heading to work saw smoke coming from a home in the 1600 block of Birchfield Road. The county employee and his passenger acted quickly.

“He did stop and there was an individual walking out of the house at that time,” said Lieutenant Trevor Lenseigne of East Valley Fire Department.

Fire officials said three people lived at the residence and two were at home when a fire broke out in a back bedroom before 6 a.m. One family member narrowly escaped.

“That individual went to the back bedroom; the bedroom door was closed but he did open it,” said Lt. Lenseigne. “The room was full of fire so he exited the structure.”

A life gone too soon for 56-year-old Laura Priddy of Yakima. A scene detectives with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office (YCSO) also investigated.

“At this point there is no evidence of foul play,” said Sergeant Mike Russell of YCSO. “At this point there is no reason for us to be suspicious of the cause.”

Fire officials said the blaze was burning at least 20 minutes before crews arrived to heavy smoke.

“At the time the fire had vented through the roof from one of the back bedrooms,” said Lt. Lenseigne. “The smoke alarms were working, so that's a good thing and that's something we stress. The smoke alarm did awake that one individual.”

However, it's not always enough to prevent disaster.

“When you're sleeping you're most of the time not going to be aware if there's a fire going on,” said Sgt. Russell. “You would ultimately end up succumbing to the smoke before you succumb to the fire itself.”

A devastating fire and life lost.

Yakima County coroner Jack Hawkins said an autopsy will be performed next week to determine if Laura Priddy died from smoke inhalation or another cause.

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