The Lewis County Coroner’s Office has positively identified the Centralia Manor Apartments resident who died at a hospital following a fire at the apartments on Nov. 29.
The resident, Lewis A. Clark, 78, and one other Centralia Manor resident from a different apartment were transported to a hospital due to breathing issues after they were evacuated from the apartment building at 303 W. Pine St. Clark was later pronounced dead, according to the Centralia Police Department. The other resident survived.
The cause and manner of death are pending toxicology and fire investigation results, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.
At 6:22 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, the Riverside Fire Authority (RFA) and the Centralia Police Department (CPD) were dispatched to the apartment building for reports of audible fire alarms and heavy smoke, according to previous Chronicle reporting. Officers and detectives arrived and observed flames coming from the third floor of the occupied apartment building.
The officers and detectives immediately entered the building and began evacuating the residents, according to previous Chronicle reporting. Firefighters from RFA arrived shortly after and began efforts to put out the fire and provide emergency medical assistance.
The evacuation required officers and detectives to force entry into multiple apartments to wake up residents and assist them in evacuating the building. First responders were able to assist in evacuating individuals in wheelchairs, those needing walkers and individuals with pets.
The City of Centralia Emergency Operation Center opened to assist emergency response personnel in coordinating between victims, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and Twin Transit.
The Chehalis Fire Department, Lewis County Fire District 5 (Napavine), Lewis County Fire District 6 (Chehalis), the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority, and American Medical Response responded to assist RFA with the fire.
“Residents from the apartment building were evacuated to the Centralia Salvation Army while the fire was fought and during the ensuing investigation,” the police department stated in a news release on Nov. 29. “The CPD and RFA want to thank Twin Transit for providing transportation, the Salvation Army for providing shelter accommodations, breakfast and blankets, and Lewis County Chaplaincy for being on scene to assist residents. The American Red Cross is coordinating with three families who are unable to return to their apartments due to damage.”