Neighbor saves man from burning home in Washougal

Clark County

The man was taken to the hospital with severe burns

WASHOUGAL, Wash. (KOIN) — When fire erupted at a home on 37th Street in Washougal around 4 a.m. Friday, Matt Sullivan didn’t hesitate to help his neighbor.

Sullivan said his wife woke him up because she heard a noise. When he looked outside, he saw the glow from his neighbor’s house.

“I was walking around the house, beating on the side of the house yelling and yelling,” Sullivan said. “Then as I was beating on the garage door, he said he was in the garage.”

Sullivan said he was able to dent the door, grab it, and was able to “bend the door out enough so he was able to crawl out from underneath.”

When his neighbor crawled out, Sullivan said “he had some pretty good burns on his hands. I think he was in shock. He seemed pretty calm, didn’t realize he had burned himself.”

  • washougal house fire 2 71919
  • washougal house fire 7192019

Sullivan said it looked like the burns were on his hands.

“It was pretty intense. I was afraid I wasn’t gonna be able to get him out,” Sullivan said. “If I didn’t get him out… I don’t know. That’d be a hard one to live with.”

Sullivan said the neighbor, Mike, has been living there about 25 years. “His wife was out of town, luckily, so it was only him in the house.”

Nick Swinhart, the fire chief of the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, told KOIN 6 News the house was “fully engulfed” by the time fire crews arrived.

“We went into a defensive strategy,” Swinhart said, “which protected other structures to keep the fire from spreading.”

Just about everything was destroyed, he said, and they’re not aware yet of where the fire began.

“Once we get it cooled down we’ll get investigators to try and start figuring out what happened,” the chief said.

Mike was taken to the hospital with severe burns, but his condition is unknown at this time.

Neighbor Katja Delavar lives 2 houses away. And though she didn’t know the victim, she was still very shaken.

“I got a call from a neighbor that this house was on fire, so I immediately made some phone calls and took some pictures,” she said. “I’m still shaking.”

Matt Sullivan tried to be positive about it.

“He’s OK. The house can be replaced. He can’t, but hopefully he should be OK.”

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