Fire Leaves West Richland Mother Dead

Fire Leaves West Richland Mother Dead
WEST RICHLAND -- A large fire at a West Richland home left one woman dead, and her husband hospitalized.

"It's very tragic. Three little kids without a mother now, and she was a good mother," says Hollis Roberts, who knows fire victims Sandy and Thomas St. George from church.

Thomas St. George owned a drilling business, which ran out of a shop next door to their home. An employee told Action News that early Friday morning, their family dog, Brownie, began barking.

Thomas apparently awoke to find the house full of flames and smoke. He was able to escape but it appears it was too late for his wife, Sandy.

"There was an enormous volume of fire," explained Bill Cherwien with Benton County Fire District 4. "There were numerous explosions and neighbors and people that have come by have commented that 'yeah, that's how we woke up this morning we heard an explosion."

The explosions came from the shop next to the house where industrial supplies for the drilling business were stored. Both the shop and the house were a total loss. But friends say it could have been even worse.

Thomas' employee says the young couple in their mid-20's has three kids under age four. Fortunately, they weren't home for the fire. They were spending the night with his family because they were planning on going camping Friday night.

The family's church, Temple Baptist, put a call out asking the congregation to keep the family in their prayers. Folks who knew Sandy say she was a positive person who was always helping others.

"It's really going to hurt our church family because they were active in things at the church," says congregation member Hollis Roberts.

Thomas St. George was taken to the hospital for breathing difficulties but is expected to be okay. Investigators say they are still trying to piece together where and how the fire started. An unexpected tragedy for this family and the community.

The coroner confirmed that the wife's body was found in her bed. They plan to perform an autopsy on Monday.