A fire that killed a 3-year-old boy inside the family’s South Tacoma duplex has been ruled accidental.
Fire investigators said although combustible materials were found inside the home in the 6400 block of South Tyler Street, they cannot determine the exact cause of the May 25 blaze.
“The investigation centered around the possibility that the 3-year-old started the fire, but we were unable to determine that,” Tacoma Fire spokesman Joe Meinecke said.
Nehemiah Bonds and his mother were napping inside the home before the fire started about 3:45 p.m.
The mom awoke to smoke and found a couch downstairs burning, according to the Fire Department.
She attempted to douse the flames and was eventually forced out of the home after trying unsuccessfully to find Nehemiah.
Firefighters later found the boy’s body in an upstairs bedroom.
A bystander noticed smoke and flames and called 911. Another man passing by helped the mother outside but said the fire was too hot for him to go back inside to look for the child.
The mother was treated for burns and smoke inhalation at a local hospital, the Bonds family said.
She lived in the duplex with Nehemiah and two other children. The other children were not home at the time of the fire.
Nehemiah “was a happy little boy,” said Nicole Johnson, his mother’s cousin. “Just happy, that’s all I can say — very talkative, playful.”
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653