Firefighters rescue family from Ballard blaze

Updated 4:10 p.m. Firefighters rescued eight people from a two-alarm house fire on the corner of NW 65th St. and 9th Ave. NW early this morning. When rescue crews arrived, they discovered the house engulfed in flames and people trapped on the roof, both in front and back of the home.

“I was so scared, I thought I was going to die,” 16-year-old Ashley Luberts told a Seattle Times reporter about standing on the roof, surrounded by smoke and flames. Her 74-year-old grandmother, Maria Luberts, was also perched on the roof, waiting for rescue with the rest of the family.

“When we woke up, all we could hear is the screaming,” said Jim, a neighbor, who said he was hit with a wall of smoke when he raced outside. “The grandmother was stuck on the roof, so we tried to get her down.”

Lt. Sue Stangl with Seattle Fire tells us firefighters rescued six people off the roof near the back of the house and the elderly woman from the front. “She was on the edge of the roof, and police officers and firefighters helped her down, and basically she jumped into their arms,” said Stangl. “They did a fantastic job.”

All eight were taken to the hospital. The grandmother suffered from smoke inhalation, but she’s expected to fully recover, family members say. A 12-year-old girl, Ashley’s sister, suffered burns to her arms and hands. The others escaped with just minor injuries.

“It was pretty scary,” Jim told us. “I’m just glad they all got out.”

Lt. Tom Erickson from Engine 21 in Greenwood arrived just after Ballard’s Engine 18. He was part of the rescue team that entered the blazing home to make sure nobody was inside. “There was a lot of fire in there,” he said. “We stayed in there as long as we could, until they told us to get out.”

Battalion Chief Alan Cox says the first crews to respond may receive an award for the rescue. When we talked to firefighters about it, they dismissed the possibility and said they were just doing their jobs.

The fire was dispatched at 4:10 a.m. and quickly escalated to a two-alarm blaze. The two-story house appears to be a total loss. Still at this hour, the gutted structure is smoking, with firefighters occasionally dousing hot spots.

With 23 degree temperatures, the first hydrant broke as firefighters attempted to connect a hose. Water from fighting the fire turned into a sheet of ice over 65th and 9th. City crews spread salt over the ice to prevent firefighters from slipping.

With the fire under control, cold firefighters took refuge in a metro bus called to the scene to help warm them up. Some of their helmets were caked with ice.

After being closed much of the day, NW 65th Street reopened this afternoon.

A news helicopter hovered over the neighborhood for much of the early morning. From the moment the fire was dispatched, Silver posted updates in the forum here. (Thanks Silver for your help!)

Plus: Watch video of the fire from KING 5

65 comments on “Firefighters rescue family from Ballard blaze”

  1. ha ha!

    I can’t believe all the losers that responded to my post.
    had nothing to do with the fire, only the hyper-media response.

    glad I was able to make you all so angry!
    happy new year you jerks!

  2. Dude, I would like to recommend that you pursue some professional therapy, maybe get a prescription for some mood-stabilizing medications, and, in general, lighten up just a bit.

  3. We can’t find them, but the neighborhood is ready with donations and welcome more. AJ’s cell phone mailbox is full. We have contacted the SFD to see if they can help us hook up to see what they need! I can post here again when we get in touch with the family.

  4. There is a woman on FB named Erin Simmons, she has been organizing help for them.

  5. Does anyone know where / how to contribute something to the family?

  6. Concerned citizens have put together a fund at Key Bank to help the family affected by this tragic fire. If you would like to help the victims, please contact Key Bank and reference, “The Luberts Fund.” The 74 yr. old home owner has just now gone back into intensive care with internal bleeding; if any of you are praying people, please remember her in your prayers.

  7. Thank you for that spot on description of Seattleites. Not all, but many of the people in this city need to grow the hell up and tune in to the rest of the world instead of living in their own little bubble 24/7. Makes me sick to my stomach.

  8. its not like every night there is a helicopter over your house stop crying about your petty little sleep problems and worry more about the why the heli was there…because some ones house burnt down!!!!

  9. ok quite honestly all of these comments are really disappointing, 1. they have absolutely nothing to do with this article and 2. some of them are just playing rude, i dont understand whats wrong with you but if you seriously are commenting this ignorantly then you need to stop . cause people from the fire may take offence to your guys’ immaturity. and by the way, i was in this fire, and yes, i do take offence. so shut up and get off this site if you have absolutely nothing good to say about it.  

  10. im sick of your stupid helicopter issues, it was one time and u really that selfsenterd that you cant just live with it?? would you rather them have all died? well at least you would have to be woken up by the helicopters. get a life!

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