Spokane (WA) Grandmother Who Survived Fatal House Fire Remembers Lost Loved Ones

Sydney Brown

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.


Aug. 23—Kathy Scott and her granddaughter always said, “I love you” to each other even if they were only stepping into the next room. As 17-year-old Skye Rose Hoffman climbed the stairs on Sunday, Scott said the words.

“And she looked at me with this huge grin on her face and said, ‘I love you so much Grandma,'” Scott said. “It was always our response to each other.”

Moments later Scott noticed smoke and fire on the patio of their home on Nebraska Avenue in northeast Spokane. She was in the living room with her sister, who ran up to tell Skye Rose and Skye’s mother Joni Hoffman about the fire.

The flames engulfed the house within minutes. Neighbors heard several booms and described what they believed was an explosion.

Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said Monday afternoon the cause of the fire was found to be a lit cigarette left on a sofa on the front porch.

Authorities arrived and eventually put out the blaze, but Skye Rose and her stepfather David Hoffman, 45, died at the scene. Joni Hoffman, 39, suffered critical injuries and was transferred to Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle, where she died Monday morning.

“That was my girl. I miss her. I miss her so much,” said Scott, Joni’s mother and Skye Rose’s grandmother.

Hoffman had always been interested in poetry, Scott said. She started writing poems around the age of 10 and was published in a poetry anthology when she was only in the fifth grade.

“She was so, so good at it. She was an amazing writer,” Scott said.

Scott said her daughter would also sew blankets and bags that she would deliver to unhoused people in Spokane. Hoffman collected donations for local food and clothing banks, Scott said.

The three of them were close, Scott said. Scott and her sister, who suffered burns as she tried to help her niece and grand-niece, moved into the Nebraska Avenue house in March with hopes to buy the home and repair it themselves.

“We were very close … as Skye got older that bond got stronger,” Scott said.

Hoffman and her daughter bonded over their shared loved of Halloween, Scott said. Instead of traditional Christmas movies, the two would curl up during the holidays and watch Tim Burton’s “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Their Christmas decorations included fake skeletons. Joni and David Hoffman even chose Halloween as their wedding date, ay as her wedding date with David Hoffman in 2017, Scott said.

Skye Rose also loved animals, Scott said, and was particularly close with her service dog she named Little Bear.

Scott said Skye was diagnosed with a developmental disability early in her life, and Bear helped her navigate her way home when she needed it. She was going to turn 18 in December.

Scott adopted Bear for herself about a year ago in the Yakima Valley, but after Skye met the puppy, they were inseparable.

“He went right up to her and laid his head on her lap, and he would not go with me after that,” Scott said. “He knew that he was Skye’s dog.”

Scott said she believes Little Bear also died in the fire.

Fire officials had not located the dog’s remains as of Monday afternoon. Scott’s sister was released from the hospital Monday, Schaeffer said.

A GoFundMe page for the Hoffman family was created and garnered more than $1,200 as of Monday evening.


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