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Four treated for smoke inhalation after Hillyard fire

SPOKANE — Four residents were treated for smoke inhalation after an “aggressive, violent fire” that destroyed a Hillyard apartment building.

“It was a really dangerous situation,” said Brian Schaeffer, assistant chief of Spokane Fire Department.

Schaeffer said the first unit on scene immediately set up to attempt to rescue people on the second floor but were knocked back by the fire. The people ended up exiting the building on their own, Schaeffer said. The roof of the building at 2918 E. Diamond Ave. collapsed and the fire threatened to spread to two adjacent apartment buildings, he said.

Firefighters worked through the night, not clearing the scene until 4 a.m. today, Schaeffer said.

More than a dozen people were evacuated both from the burning building and from apartment buildings on either side because the power had to be shut off, said Pat Kondas, a volunteer spokesperson for the American Red Cross. A temporary shelter was set up for those people at Rogers High School, Kondas said. At last count, she said, eight children and six adults were staying there.

“We have tiny babies and toddlers and kids of all ages” staying there, Kondas said. However, she said, once the power is turned back on in the adjacent buildings, those residents will be able to return to their homes.

The Red Cross also will provide food, clothing and shelter to any residents of the building that burned who need it, Kondas said.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.