Woman dies from smoke inhalation in Washougal fire

Smoke detector had been disconnected in Marriah Buhman's apartment

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The smoke detector in Marriah Buhman’s apartment had been disconnected sometime before she lost her life in a Washougal apartment fire.

Buhman, 28, died from smoke inhalation, according to Clark County Medical Examiner Dr. Dennis Wickham.

Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to the Towne Square Apartments, at 2900 “H” St., Nov. 22, at 3:25 p.m.

The fire, which was contained to an upper floor apartment (No. 4) and did not spread to the lower floor, was extinguished within a few minutes, according to Camas Fire Chief Nick Swinhart.

Responding agencies included the WFD, WPD, CFD and East County Fire and Rescue.

Buhman was found in a bedroom, and there were no other occupants in the apartment. Damage is estimated at $40,000 according to Washougal Fire Chief Ron Schumacher.

Richard Martin, with the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office, said Monday there was not a working smoke detector in the apartment.

“It had been disconnected,” he added.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is continuing to investigate the cause of the fire.

Towne Square Apartments is overseen by Legacy Management Group, LLC.

Lynn Blankenship, one of the regional managers with Legacy, said residents have been provided with the phone number of the Clark County Chaplain’s Office, for grief counseling.

“It’s tragic, that is for certain,” he said. “We’ve done our best to reassure the other residents that there are no structural problems. It appears that this was an anomaly. As far as we know, there are no electrical, structural or mechanical problems with the unit that would be of concern to the other residents.”

Buhman was a senior at Washington State University, studying environmental biology.