Spokane firefighters rescued residents from an apartment house fire in Browne’s Addition late Saturday, plucking people from windows and balconies.
No one can return home to 1427 W. Riverside until repairs are made to the electrical and plumbing systems, said Spokane Fire Battalion Chief Steve Sabo.
Investigators didn’t know what started the basement fire about 11 p.m., but it sent smoke billowing up stairs and out doors of the three-story converted house.
Mick Wischnack and Margie Roen scrambled through a window and were snatched from a ledge by firefighters on a ladder.
Wischnack said they were lucky - Roen is recovering from surgery and couldn’t use the stairs. They didn’t realize how thick the smoke was.
“We wouldn’t have made it,” Wischnack said. He was smoking a cigarette and holding his usually white cat, now gasping and dirty gray.
“When they first opened the door, blue smoke was just billowing out, and lighter smoke was up in the air,” said neighbor Carmen Bafas, pointing to a column of smoke curdling the clouds above.
Firefighters wearing oxygen tanks saved at least two cats from the apartment house.
Dozens of gawkers jammed the road, the sidewalk and porches. Firefighters had to herd them out of the way to move their trucks.
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