Northwest NEWS

January 18, 1999

Local News

Bothell burn victim still in serious condition

Man who put clothes fire out says he's not a hero

by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter

   BOTHELL--A Bothell woman remained in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center last Friday afternoon with burns to 32 percent of her body, according to hospital officials who anticipate a lengthy recovery.

   Linda Savidge, 50, has been in the Burns/Intensive Care Unit with burns to her face, neck, chest, right arm, and right leg since being airlifted to the hospital last Wednesday afternoon.

   Bothell Fire and EMS officials believe Savidge's clothing caught on fire last Wednesday afternoon while she was lighting a cigarette inside her home in the 19100 block of 130th Court NE. The fire flared up in her face as she ran outside, presumably for help.

   Savidge might have suffered more extensive burns if it hadn't been for Jim Fenton, a 32-year-old accountant who was returning from lunch in Woodinville at that moment.

   "I just happened to be driving by, and Linda had just stepped out. She was in flames," Fenton recalled.

   "You do what anyone is going to do and run over there. I put her on the ground, rolled her, and put it out," he said. Fenton said Savidge was in shock, but he briefly comforted her and then called 9-1-1.

   Fenton, who is single and lives in Clearview, suffered second-degree burns to his fingertips and was treated and released from Evergreen that afternoon.

   Savidge had second and third-degree burns. Her airway was said to have been burned, as well. Hospital spokesman Larry Zalin anticipated a long stay. "Burns take a long time to heal, so she'll be here awhile," he said.

   "Our prayers are going out to her," Fenton said. "She's the one we're concerned about."

   Firefighters dubbed Fenton a "good Samaritan;" the word hero may also apply. Fenton disagreed. "It's what anybody would do. They were just strange circumstances. I just happened to be there."

   Still, Bothell Fire Chief Marcus Kragness said Fenton was "pretty instrumental in [Savidge's] being alive." He said that anytime a private citizen takes an action at his own risk, "hero is the right word."

   "I have a lot of respect for that," Kragness said.

   Fire officials say that when a persons' clothing catches fire, what they should do is stop, drop, and roll.