Walla Walla fire victim improves

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WALLA WALLA -- A man injured in a house fire Sunday has been upgraded to serious condition today.

Zachary Collins, 23, remained in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he had been taken following the fire at 216 N. Park St.

Collins and Ashley Lechner, 21, were residents of an upper-story apartment when a fire started on a porch atop a carport. Flames blocked the upstairs apartment doorway, which can be entered only by an outside stairway.

Collins and Lechner escaped out a window, but suffered burns, smoke inhalation and cuts. Lechner was also taken to Harborview, and was later discharged

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but it is not considered suspicious, said Bob Yancey, Walla Walla Fire Department interim chief. "Until we have an opportunity to interview both occupants, we will be unable to say for certain what the cause might have been," he said.

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