BELLEVUE – A fire that engulfed a three-story building Tuesday at a Bellevue apartment complex, sending seven people to hospitals, was under investigation by both police and fire officials.
Fire investigators estimated $1.5 million in damage to the building at the Hampton Greens complex, with loss to contents of about $150,000.
Bellevue police detectives with the assistance of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to the scene to help fire investigators determine the cause of the fire, Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Rich Burke said.
Two people with significant injuries were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Burke said.
The hospital received two men. One was in serious condition in intensive care and the other was in satisfactory condition, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.
Five people with minor injuries were taken to hospitals on Seattle’s east side. They included a firefighter who cut her hand, Burke said.
There were multiple 911 calls when the fire broke out at about 6:30 a.m. at the Hampton Greens, a complex with about three dozen buildings on 16 acres.
There were initial reports of an explosion, Burke said.
It took about an hour and a half to control the fire, and there were about 80 firefighters from Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland at the scene, along with about 20 police officers, he said.
The fire nearly destroyed one three-story building with 10 units, Burke said.
Displaced residents were receiving aid from the Red Cross.
One resident of a neighboring building, Caleb Petrie, told KOMO Newsradio that he awoke to an explosion that shook the complex. When he looked out, he saw flames shooting from both sides of the building. He saw one man run out with his clothes on fire, he told KOMO.
Petrie ran outside and helped one woman who jumped from her third-floor apartment. She told him her cats were already dead when she jumped.