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Apartment fire was accidental, officials say

The cause of a four-alarm blaze at a South Hill apartment complex was likely “electrical in nature” and accidental, authorities said Wednesday.

The blaze was the biggest fire in Spokane in at least two years.

Flames destroyed about a third of the apartment complex Tuesday afternoon, causing an estimated $1.2 million in damage and forcing the building’s estimated 24 residents to evacuate.

The 12-unit complex in the 700 block of South Lincoln Street is not inhabitable yet, but property owners were assessing damage on Wednesday, authorities said. Some residents may be able to return by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a few residents were staying at the Mirabeau Park Hotel, as the complex and hotel are managed by the same people.

“We are just trying to make sure they are taken care of and getting what they need for now,” said Andy Rooney, the hotel’s general manager.

Spokane Fire Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer said Tuesday’s fire had apparently been burning for some time in the attic before igniting the ceiling of the top floor.

“When it broke through, it broke through with a vengeance,” he said.

Flames shot more than 25 feet above the roof.

But no one was injured in the blaze, which was “remarkable” considering the number of residents and firefighters involved, Schaeffer said.