August 25, 2011 in City

Another fire, more need

Red Cross struggles to maintain helping hand as burned-out victims nears 100
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

A Spokane firefighter prepares to vent the roof of the Garry Park Apartments on Wednesday. The lunch-hour fire at 2807 E. Boone Ave. started in a ceiling fan and spread into the attic, forcing firefighters to cut large holes in the roof to ventilate the building of smoke and gases.
(Full-size photo)

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How to help

Donations to help fire victims may be made at the Red Cross office at 15 W. Nora Ave.; online at inwredcross.org; or by phone at (509) 326-3330, ext. 217.

At least 90 people have been burned out of their homes and apartments this month in what’s become a bad August for residential fires in Spokane.

Residents of a three-story apartment complex at 2807 E. Boone Ave. escaped unharmed Wednesday when fire broke out in the ceiling above a third-floor unit and spread across the attic just after noon. At least three residents were burned out of their homes.

It was the third big residential fire in Spokane in the past four days, and follows an even larger apartment fire that displaced 47 residents in North Spokane on Aug. 10.

Red Cross officials in Spokane said the need for help is taxing the agency.

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

“Everybody got out fine,” said Battalion Chief Dan Brown said.

The fire was contained mainly to the area above the unit where it started.

Two ladder trucks and seven engine companies joined the fight, which lasted nearly two hours.

Firefighters took steps to protect residents’ property and limited the use of water to prevent collateral damage.

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

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

Another apartment fire on West First Avenue in Browne’s Addition on Sunday forced a dozen people from their homes. One man died in that fire.

The Peter Square Apartment fire 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.

Megan Snow, regional director of communications for the Red Cross, said the Peter Square Apartment fire cost $10,000 for emergency assistance. The Browne’s Addition fire will likely cost several thousand dollars more.

Displaced residents are offered temporary lodging in motels in Spokane if they do not have family or friends to help, she said.

The agency may also provide money needed to get new housing.

The agency maintains contact to help fire victims take advantage of other assistance in the community, she said.

“We try to be an advocate for the people we work with,” Snow said.


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