Lakewood

Military vet killed when fire breaks out in Lakewood home

Military vet killed when fire breaks out in Lakewood home »Play Video
50 Beverly Dr. SW, Feb. 8, 2014.
LAKEWOOD, Wash. - Heartbroken neighbors are mourning the loss of a friend who died early this morning in a house fire.

Firefighters say 56-year-old Jaynie Zeigler was home alone when a neighbor heard a sound and noticed smoke about 1:45 a.m.

Fire crews rushed to 50 Beverly Dr. SW and found Zeigler deceased in her living room.

"I was devastated," said Jessica Peterson, who says she knew Zeigler as a customer at the Kwiki Mart two blocks from the home. "I talked to her nearly every day. She always was smiling and always had a really good, positive attitude."

Friends say Zeigler was a former Army drill instructor who walked on two prosthetic legs. She did not talk about how she lost her limbs.

Peterson noticed her customer, who she calls a friend, started using her wheelchair more frequently over the past few months.

"She was able to walk just fine and everything and then recently she was more disabled to her wheelchair," Peterson recalled. "She wasn't able to get around as much. I think that probably made her frustrated."

One neighbor said a wheelchair ramp had recently been installed at the front door to Zeigler's home.

Zeigler also shared that she was excited about a grant that was going to help pay for renovations to make the inside of the home more accessible.

Neighbors can't help but wonder how Zeigler's lack of mobility may have hindered her ability to escape.

While investigators have determined the fire started in the living room, they are not yet releasing information about what may have caused it.

"I can hardly look at it," says Peterson. "It makes me so sad to know she won't be there anymore."