Ethiopian community mourns woman, 4 nieces and nephews killed in Seattle apartment fire

SEATTLE (AP) — Relatives and friends have identified five people killed in a fast-moving Seattle apartment fire as an Ethiopian immigrant and her two nieces and two nephews.

Killed were 22-year-old Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis (Jeh-be-GEORGE-is), her two nieces, 6-year-old Nisreen Shamam and 7-year-old Nyella Smith, and two nephews, 13-year-old Joseph Gebregiorgis and 5-year-old Yaseen Shamam.

The extended family came from Ethiopia in 1989.

The cause of the fire, which was confined to the unit, was not immediately known.

The woman's sister, Helen Gebregiorgis, the mother of three of the children, fled the apartment with another child.

The first engine to arrive had a problem with a pump that prevented it from spraying water, but a second truck arrived minutes later. The fire was out within about 40 minutes.


Information from: The Seattle Times,