September 22, 2006 in City

Spokane fire displaces apartment residents

By The Spokesman-Review
The Spokesman-Review photo

Spokane firefighters douse smoldering debris pulled from the State Street Flats on Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

Fire ripped through a 10-unit apartment building early Thursday, displacing several residents.

Joe Wright had lived in the building at 164 S. State St. for five years, he said. The 69-year-old said he doesn’t know where he’ll go next. He’s alone in Spokane.

Wright escaped the blaze unharmed, and he’s being helped by the American Red Cross.

“The smoke alarm woke me up,” Wright said. “And when smoke started coming in, I yelled at the guy upstairs to get out.”

Wright lived on the main floor of the two-story building.

Four of his neighbors were taken to area hospitals with injuries, including two who jumped from second-floor windows to escape, witnesses said.

Crews were called to the fire at the State Street Flats about 5 a.m., fire officials said. When they arrived, several Spokane police officers were already on the scene helping residents escape and tending to the two who had jumped.

Six tenants who were trapped on the building’s second story were rescued by firefighters using ladders, said Spokane Fire Department battalion chief Ken Kirsch.

Three residents were taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center, said Spokane Fire assistant chief Brian Schaeffer. Two of them were treated for smoke inhalation and released. The third was in critical condition.

A fourth patient was taken to Deaconess Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation and a leg fracture, Schaeffer said.

Investigators believe the fire started in the basement, but they were still investigating possible causes late Thursday, Schaeffer said.

American Red Cross officials said they were helping all the apartment residents with shelter, food and clothing.

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