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Residents escape Garry Park apartment fire

Wed., Aug. 24, 2011, 2:30 p.m.

Residents of a three-story apartment complex escaped unharmed today when fire broke out in the ceiling above a third-floor unit and spread across the attic.

It was the third major residential fire in Spokane in four days in what has become a bad month for people being burned out of homes. The fire added to a growing list of displaced residents being helped by Red Cross this month.

Joanna Hansen said she was in her unit when the fire started. “I was getting ready for work and they were beating on our door” to alert her, she said of her neighbors.

The noon fire at 2807 E. Boone Ave. started in a third-floor ceiling fan and then spread into the attic, forcing firefighters to cut large holes in the roof to ventilate building smoke and gases, said Battalion Chief Dan Brown.

“Everybody got out fine,” he said.

Hose lines were used in the initial attack, and the fire was discovered mainly above the unit where it started.

Two ladder trucks responded to the fire and crews from those units were used to ventilate the roof. Seven engine companies joined the fight.

Firefighters took steps to protect residents’ property and limited the use of water to minimize damage in units below the fire over the course of the two-hour fight.

Brown said attic fires can easily burn off an entire roof, so stopping the blaze near its origin was considered a success.

Even so, at least three residents were displaced and a fourth resident who was not home is likely to be forced out, according to the Inland Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross, which responded for assistance.

The Red Cross said that is has provided fire assistance to 90 people in the Inland Northwest, most of them in Spokane, as the result of 10 fires since this month.

A fire on Tuesday night on West Lacrosse Avenue displaced a family of seven.

Another apartment fire Sunday on West First Avenue in Browne’s Addition forced a dozen people from their homes. That fire resulted in one fatality.

The Peter Square Apartment fire on Aug. 10 in north Spokane destroyed 23 apartments and displaced 47 residents.

The Red Cross helps with temporary housing and emergency food, clothing and other items.

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