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'I saw the dad ... he was on fire': Father throws kids out window as home burns

KEPR-TV News photo

BENTON CITY, Wash. – A father and his two kids are in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after they were burned in a house fire near Benton City.

KEPR-TV reports that Benton County firefighters responded to the fire Monday morning at a mobile home in Benton City.

Witness Luis Madrigal told reporters that the children's father threw the kids to him through a window as flames roared all around him.

"I saw the dad inside the house filled with flames, he was on fire," Madrigal said. "He told me grab the kids and he threw them at me from the window. I took them away from the fire, I called 911 and they told us what to do."

Benton County Fire Districts 2, 3 and 4 responded to the emergency. Medics rushed the father and his two children, just 7 and 10 years old, to Kadlec Medical Center before airlifting them to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to treat their severe burns.

"She had burn marks everywhere," Madrigal said about the little girl.

"You can't get burns like that without getting some smoke inhalation,” Fire Captain Ed Dubar said. “And that's an issue. When you get the heat in your respiratory track it can do some severe damage."

Dunbar said the mom and dad are farm workers on the vineyard behind the property. The parents were already working out in the fields when they saw smoke coming from their home.

"The father actually went back inside the house, got the kids out of the house, in that he got burned as well," Dunbar said.

In a situation like this, Dunbar said there is very little time to escape.

"In 60 seconds you'll have smoke that you can't see through," he explained.

He is unsure whether there were working smoke detectors inside the mobile home.

"Smoke detectors save lives," Dunbar said. "If they had gotten woken up by smoke detectors they could have gotten out quicker.”

The cause of the fire is unknown. The home is a total loss.

A Harborview Medical Center spokesperson says the dad and kids were still in critical condition as of Monday afternoon. Doctors are closely assessing and monitoring their injuries.

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