Family: Victim was just unlucky

MARYSVILLE — Despite what his family called a long streak of bad luck, Bill Hoyt never lost his optimism.

Hoyt, 52, was inside his home at the Twin Cedars mobile home park Feb. 7, when smoke from a slow-burning fire snuck up on him and stole his life.

“He was a great guy who had a long streak of bad luck,” said Krista Hunt, who was Hoyt’s niece. “He’s been through a lot more than most people can imagine.”

Hoyt suffered from muscular dystrophy, an incurable genetic illness that deteriorates a person’s muscles overtime. He was using a power wheelchair to get around but was able to do without it inside his home.

Hunt, 20, of Marysville, had cared for Hoyt since she was 11. He liked to watch wrestling and “Wheel of Fortune,” and play dominoes, Hunt said.

She described her uncle as a kind and compassionate man.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Hoyt served in the Navy and in the Army. The disease began to take a greater toll on his body in the late ’90s until “he could barely lift a can of soda anymore,” Hunt said.

Hoyt was a survivor by nature, Hunt said. In 1998, a gunman on a Metro bus in Seattle shot the driver, sending the bus off the Aurora Bridge. Hoyt was on that bus. Injuries from the accident combined with his illness put Hoyt in the wheelchair, Hunt said.

Even though the illness affected Hoyt’s body, it couldn’t destroy his spirit, Hunt said. “Uncle Bill was a very optimistic person. He always had a smile on his face.”

After the accident, Hoyt moved from Seattle to Marysville to be closer to family, Hunt said. The two often spent time at Hoyt’s favorite place in Seattle, the Pike Place Market.

“He loved Seattle,” Hunt said. “We’d go to the market, watch the people and stop to chat with his friends for a minute.”

Hoyt’s family had cared for him over the years and was always there for him, Hunt said. They set up a fund in the name of William “Bill” Hoyt to help cover the costs of his care. People can donate to the fund at any KeyBank branch.

Hoyt’s family members have been overwhelmed by his death and aren’t planning a public service, Hunt said.

The Snohomish County fire marshal’s office ruled the fire accidental. Investigators couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause but determined that either discarded cigarettes or combustibles near a space heater caught on fire.

“It was a slow and smoldering fire,” said deputy fire marshal Mikael Makela, the lead investigator in the case.

The fire likely had been smoldering for 10 or 12 hours before smoke slunk out and alerted neighbors Wayne and Rene Cortez.

The home had a smoke alarm, but it had been disconnected, Makela said.

The fire started at the coffee table in the living room, in the south side of the building, Makela said. The flames didn’t spread to the back, but toxic, black smoke slowly made its way into the north side of the house and found Hoyt in one of the two bedrooms.

People often don’t realize how easy it is to spark a house fire, Makela said. A forgotten blanket or a couch too close to a space heater can and will ignite if exposed long enough.

Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452,

How to help

You can donate to the William “Bill” Hoyt fund at any KeyBank branch.

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

A person walks in the rain at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
First heavy rain event predicted Sunday night for Snohomish County

Starting Sunday evening, 1 to 1½ inches of rain is expected in western Washington. It marks the end of fire season, meteorologists said.

Clinton man, 61, dies in motorcycle crash Friday

Washington State Patrol lists speed as the cause. No other people or vehicles were involved.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Separate road rage incident ends with fatal shooting in Lake Stevens

A man, 41, died at the scene in the 15300 block of 84th Street NE. No arrests have been made.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement partners advise the public of of colorful fentanyl.  (Photo provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration)
After rainbow fentanyl pills found in Tulalip, police sound alarms

Investigators are concerned the pastel-colored pills may end up in the hands of children.

Most Read