Elderly husband, wife dead in early morning apartment fire

LAKEWOOD -- An elderly husband and wife were found dead inside of an apartment that was gutted by fire early Wednesday morning.

The fire broke out around 12:55 a.m. at the Morning Tree Park Apartments in the 8000 block of 83rd Avenue Southwest.  West Pierce Fire and Rescue arrived minutes later and found the apartment fully engulfed in flames.  Fire crews were able to knock it down in about 20 minutes.

Firefighters were alerted by neighbors that a 64-year-old man and a 78-year-old female were inside the home at the time of the fire.  A search was conducted and the two victims were found dead.

There identities were not immediately released. However, it is believed they were husband and wife, officials said. According to witnesses, the man came out of the house to yell for help. He then went back inside and died from heat and/or smoke from the wire.

Three families have been displaced and are being helped by the Red Cross after their neighboring apartments were damaged by heavy smoke.

Neighbor Heather Fraga said she was woken when her brother yelled that there was a fire next door.

"They were pounding, saying, 'Get out of here. Get out of here,'" Fraga said.

The cause of fire is still under investigation.