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Apartment blazes displace residents

Heating pad on mattress may have caused one

Five adults and two children escaped their apartments Wednesday morning when the north Spokane home they lived in was hit by fire.

“My daughter woke me up panicking. She was standing there crying. We just got up and ran out,” said Ron Magnuson, who was staying in his friend Trisha Marx’s apartment with his 7-year-old daughter, Chloë. Marx was not home when the fire broke out, but she also was displaced.

The Spokane Fire Department received the call to 614 W. Montgomery Ave., near North Wall Street, about 8:30 a.m., and had the fire mostly knocked down within 20 minutes, said Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer. Some 30 firefighters responded and no injuries were reported, although a cat named Smokey was missing.

The 1901 home had been converted into three apartments, two on the first floor and one on the second. Resident Patricia Mallory said she believes the fire started in her rear downstairs apartment when a heating pad was left on a mattress.

Fire investigators were still looking into the cause, Schaeffer said.

Mallory, who lived there with her husband, Mike, and their cocker spaniel, Oscar, said the couple lost their last home to fire in February and had just finished rebuilding their lives, thanks to renter’s insurance.

“We just had our house back together, nice and cozy,” Patricia Mallory said. “We’ve lost everything, again.”

Schaeffer said the building had no working smoke detectors, but building owner Ron Chatburn said they were all working when the tenants moved in.

Roger Bowman had come downstairs Wednesday morning to walk his girlfriend’s Chihuahua, Fernando, when he saw his neighbors remove a smoking mattress from their apartment. Bowman said the neighbors told him the fire was under control, but then he saw flames coming from the downstairs bedroom.

Bowman said he ran back upstairs to get his girlfriend, Cindi Jackson, and their cats out of their apartment. Jackson said she saw one cat, Pearl, jump out the window, but didn’t know the whereabouts of Smokey.

“I’m ready to go to work and I’m losing everything. Everything we own is up there,” said Bowman, who works as a kitchen manager for a Spokane Valley restaurant. The couple did not have renter’s insurance. But he added, “We’ve got work and we’re alive. Thank God.”

Resident displaced in Valley blaze

A Spokane Valley apartment fire displaced a man Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said.

A 52-year-old man who uses an oxygen tank was smoking when he fell asleep, said Spokane Valley Fire spokesman Bill Clifford. Bedding caught fire.

The man and his nephew, who was there taking care of him, escaped. The man suffered a burn to his hand.

Firefighters were able to confine the blaze to the one apartment at the Valley 206 complex, 2400 N. Wilbur Road, Clifford said. The Red Cross was assisting the displaced resident.

Jody Lawrence-Turner contributed to this report.

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