Witness: Screams from people trapped inside Bellevue condo fire still haunt me

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Bellevue firefighters will remain on the scene of a condo fire on 100 Avenue NE until at least Wednesday to monitor hot spots and make sure people don’t try to enter the building because they say it isn’t structurally sound.

Mike Fragione captured video as flames ripped through the Bellevue condo Monday night. He said the screams he heard from people trapped inside still haunt him.

“Knowing that you have to just sit there and you can’t do anything is probably one of the hardest feelings to get over,” said Fragione.

Two people died and two were injured in this fire, including Tatiana Templeman’s friend, who is in Harborview Medical Center recovering from burns.

“The most important thing for us is that he’s OK,” said Templeman. “He’s stable and he’s breathing on his own. He has burns but burns will heal.”

She’s calling him a hero after she says he tried to get as many people out of the building as he could.

“He is not thinking about his own life but help, save as many people as he can,” said Templeman.

The Bellevue Fire Department says the flames spread quickly and into the stairwells, which made it difficult for people to get out and firefighters to go in.

“It’s a multi-story building so there are trapped occupants on multiple floors, and we got that information enroute but one of the challenges is going out the window when they are on upper floors,” said Bellevue Fire Battalion Chief Dave Beste.

It’s why the Bellevue Fire Department says planning an escape route is critical.

“Have an evacuation plan and practice it and have batteries on your smoke detector changed on a regular basis,” said Beste.

Firefighters have determined the fire started on the back porch of a bottom corner unit. They still don’t know what caused it, but they say they will be here for a while investigating.