“Iron Nun” Saves Spokane Man from Mobile Home Fire

A Spokane man escaped a mobile home fire the morning of Monday, May 9, thanks to his neighbor, Sister Madonna Buder, also known as the “Iron Nun.”

David Ward was asleep when his home in the Sans Souci Mobile Home Park in West Central Spokane caught fire around 6 a.m. on Monday. The fire caught the attention of his neighbor across the street, who then called 911 and knocked on Ward’s door, waking him up in time for him to evacuate the smoky room.

“I figure she saved my life,” said Ward, who noted that his smoke alarms failed to go off.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a cigarette, rolled by Ward himself, which had been placed in a potted plant on the back porch. According to Ward, the cigarette lit the plant on fire and spread to nearby bushes in the yard.

The mobile home suffered a significant amount of damage, though it is considered repairable. Ward does not have home insurance and will need to live elsewhere until he is able to find a way to pay for the necessary repairs. Since a minor kitchen remodel can cost, on average, $19,226, it is likely that Ward’s total repair cost will be upwards of $20,000.

“I’m still in a little bit of a daze,” he said. “It’s still kind of sinking in that I’ve got so much damage done.”

Ward’s neighbor, Sister Madonna Buder, 86, is currently the oldest person to complete an Ironman triathlon and was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame in 2014. She was nicknamed the “Iron Nun” and has finished over 300 Ironman competitions since the age of 52.


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