EVERETT, Wash. -- A 26-year-old barista died after being caught by a fiery explosion inside her coffee stand. Flames overtook the kiosk so quickly, Courtney Campbell never had a chance to escape, according to investigators. The victim suffered extensive burns which ultimately proved fatal.
"The world lost a beautiful soul and I lost my best friend," said Ben Scott, who is now organizing a fundraising effort for Campbell's family.
Campbell had big dreams for her coffee stand business and high hopes for her two young daughters. The explosion inside the coffee stand on Thursday robbed her of seeing any of it come true.
"This was not a bikini barista, this was a human being and a mom with two little girls, and a friend," Scott said.
Scott went to visit Campbell at the burn unit of Harborview Medical Center. He was optimistic she'd pull through and sat with her at her bedside, offering words of encouragement and telling her about the benefit to help her daughters that he is organizing for Saturday.
"I hope she heard my words, I really do, because it was the last time I was able to talk to her," Scott said.
Campbell bought the Everett coffee stand in March and was putting in long hours to make it a viable business. Despite all the hard work, Scott said she remained dedicated to her two daughters, ages 3 and 8.
Campbell was also ready to help out her friends any way she could, Scott said. That included giving him money for groceries to help feed his roommate's children, and remembering him during the holidays.
"The thing that just really melted my heart was that she gave me a Christmas card that she and her daughters had signed, with two pictures of her little girls in it," Scott said as he choked back the emotion.
Investigators aren't sure what started the fire but believe a propane tank might have had a role. They also found a portable heater in the stand.
A benefit event is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Tony V's Garage on Hewitt Avenue in Everett. Scott said all proceeds will go to Campbell's two young daughters. There is also a separate GoFundMe page set up for Campbell's family.