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Apartment dwellers escape north Spokane fire

Cat killed in early morning blaze

Ten persons were chased out of their units in a predawn fire today at the Countryside Apartments, fire officials said.

No one was injured in the 3:18 a.m. blaze at 405 W. Bellwood Drive in the Waikiki area north of Spokane.

A woman living in one of the burned units suffered a minor burn to her face when she attempted to go back to her apartment to rescue a cat, which died in the fire, said fire Capt. Dan Walsh of Spokane County Fire District No. 9.

Another occupant had minor irritation from breathing smoke. Both persons were checked by medics, but not taken to a hospital, Walsh said.

The fire apparently started on a back deck of an upper-story unit and spread quickly into the attic and roof.

An adjacent upper-story apartment also had substantial fire damage, and two units below were damaged by water from the firefighting effort.

“It was ripping along pretty good initially,” Walsh said. “The crews did an excellent job of stopping it.”

He said both of the upper units “were pretty much destroyed by the fire.”

About two dozen firefighters with eight rigs responded to the fire, and none of them was injured.

The cause is under investigation, but because the fire broke out on the deck, investigators are looking at the possibility that a barbecue or cigarette may be to blame, Walsh said.

The American Red Cross in Spokane went to the fire and was helping the residents with emergency shelter, clothing and food.

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