House fire highlights importance of egress windows - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

House fire highlights importance of egress windows

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

A house fire over the weekend cost a North Spokane woman nearly everything she owned.  The flames also trapped her nephew in the basement.  Firefighters cut a hole through the wall to get him out because there wasn't a window big enough.   

Now she wants to get the message out about how important it is to have windows in your basement to make sure someone can get out. 

The Spokane Fire Department says when a home doesn't have an egress window in the basement it makes rescue very difficult.  They describe it as an "expected fatality." 

Many basement windows are so small that an adult and most children could not fit through if there was an emergency. 

"That's how the old houses are," says Petr Gaydarzhi.  "They have a very tiny window for ventilation and most of them don't even open." 

Gaydarzhi installs egress windows.  He says they really are a safety priority.   

"If it doesn't have an egress window, then it becomes a trap in case there is a fire or some kind of danger upstairs," says Gaydarzhi.    

With these type of windows in case of a fire you just pop out the screen, then you crank or slide the window open and you can just climb through and get out.   

"In a worst case scenario if somebody is in a real hurry they could just jump right through the screen," says Gaydarzhi.  "It allows firefighters an easy way to break through the window and get right in." 

Even in houses that aren't built with them, egress windows can be installed fairly easily.   

"This is not an extra.  It's a necessity to have in the house," Gaydarzhi tells KHQ.    

The city building code department says these days more people sleep in basements so it's important to make sure there's a second exit in case of emergencies.  

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