ARLINGTON – Mary Ellen Havlik wanted her daughter’s wedding day to be perfect.
Havlik, 62, fretted over the food and tended the flowers with care. She and her husband were expecting about 60 guests at their Lake Ki home for their daughter’s wedding Saturday afternoon.
But the Arlington grandmother died Saturday morning after a fire broke out about 3:30 a.m. and destroyed the house, Marysville Fire spokesman Nathan Trauernicht said.
Early reports indicated that Havlik went back into the burning house to rescue the family dog. But Havlik never made it out of the house, according to a statement given to The Herald by her family.
There were no witnesses who saw her outside after the fire broke out, Snohomish County deputy fire marshal Brenda Larsen said Monday.
“I can’t say she made it outside because no one saw her,” Larsen said.
Havlik awoke to a fire on the deck and woke her husband, who attempted to fight the fire with a garden hose, Trauernicht said.
A resident across the lake spotted the fire and called 911.
Firefighters arrived to find about a quarter of the house engulfed in flames. Neighbors told them that Havlik was still inside, Trauernicht said.
Firefighters fought to knock down the blaze and found Havlik inside. Paramedics attempted to revive her, but she died at the scene.
The accidental fire likely was caused by an electrical problem.
Havlik is survived by her husband of more than 40 years, five daughters, a sister, her parents and three grandchildren.
“She was the greatest, sweetest little lady. She was so devoted to her family,” said Joanie Aardal, who worked with Havlik, serving samples at the Burlington Costco.
Havlik had a bubbly personality, and “you couldn’t help laugh when you were around her,” Aardal said.
She was feisty too, according to a statement released by the family.
“She was an amazing woman. She was the center of our family. She never stopped giving,” according to her family.
Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.