Fire damages Mine Hill Apartments
July 21, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
Firefighters credited smoke detectors with saving lives during a July 18 blaze at a Southwest Clark Street apartment complex. The early morning fire caused $170,000 worth of damage but residents escaped unscathed.
Authorities said the fire began when a discarded cigarette ignited a loveseat on a second-floor deck.
When Eastside Fire & Rescue crews arrived at Mine Hill Apartments, 245 S.W. Clark St., at about 2:20 a.m., smoke and flames were coming from the deck and had burned through the front door of the apartment.EFR Battalion Chief Greg Tryon said crews worried about fire spreading to the adjacent building, but they extinguished the blaze by working from inside and outside the building, before the fire could spread.
Damage was limited to two units, Tryon said. The apartment where the blaze originated received heavy fire and smoke damage, including what Tryon described as “significant roof damage.” The unit below the apartment received limited water damage, he said.
Firefighters had the blaze under control within 30 minutes, he added.
An occupant of the unit where the fire began, a man in his 20s, was transported to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and released. He told authorities he attempted to use a fire extinguisher to control the fire before he evacuated his family.
Authorities said four units at the complex were occupied. Residents, including several children and a wheelchair-bound adult, left the burning building before EFR crews arrived. Apartment dwellers said they were awakened by smoke detectors.
Tryon credited the detectors, which alerted the rest of the residents to the need to leave, with saving lives.
EFR’s Fire Prevention Bureau was called in to investigate the blaze. Assistant Fire Marshal Mark Lawrence said the fire was caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials” that set the loveseat ablaze.
Lawrence encouraged smokers to make sure cigarettes are extinguished before discarding them. He said smokers should also consider filling ashtrays with sand or water to snuff out cigarettes.
Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.