‘You Did Everything You Could to Help’: Victim of Tenino Area Fire Identified  


The woman who was killed in a residential structure fire in the Tenino area on Nov. 8 despite the best efforts of fire personnel and neighbors has been positively identified as 71-year-old Elaine Waterman. 

The Thurston County Coroner’s office completed its investigation into Waterman’s death on Nov. 16 and determined her death was due to thermal injuries and inhalation of combustible materials. 

Neighbors reported the fully-involved fire at Waterman’s home in the Goddard area of 163rd Avenue shortly before 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 8 and tried to help on the scene as South Thurston Fire and EMS and West Thurston Fire responded alongside Bucoda Fire and East Olympia Fire. 

“You did everything you could to help,” said South Thurston Fire in a Facebook post thanking the neighbors for their effort last week. “Sadly not much could’ve been done.” 

South Thurston Fire offered its condolences to the family of the victim, saying, “she was loved by her family and it showed.” 

The fire agency also expressed how difficult the outcome of the situation was for firefighters. 

“STFE members take pride in protecting our community. It simply saddens us, when despite our best efforts we were unable to do what we have been called to do,” said South Thurston Fire in the Facebook post. 

South Thurston Fire also expressed the importance of ensuring residents have working smoke detectors in their homes and encouraged residents to replace those smoke detectors every 10 years. 

Waterman’s death has been ruled as accidental, according to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office. The cause of the fire is under investigation.