A two-alarm apartment building fire in Browne’s Addition drew dozens of firefighters in the sweltering heat just before noon Friday.
The first units to arrive at the Greentree Apartments at 1919 W. Pacific Ave. saw heavy smoke and fire coming from the third floor of the building, said Spokane Fire Department Deputy Chief of Operations Mark John. A second alarm was immediately called to get more crews to battle the fire.
Mike Varne lives in the basement level of the building and said someone was banging on doors to warn residents of the fire.
“I was sitting,” he said. “Somebody knocked on my door and said there’s a fire, get the hell out,” Varne said.
The flames were out within 20 minutes and crews cut several holes in the roof. Damage was limited to the third floor, John said. “There’s heavy charring,” he said.
As firefighters worked there were several ambulances parked nearby, though no one was injured in the fire. John said they were there to assist any firefighters overcome by the heat while wearing their heavy gear.
“We are very, very cognizant of that,” he said, referring to the high temperatures.
The hot weather means crews can only spend a limited amount of time battling the fire. “Then we bring them out and replace them with fresh crews,” John said.
Firefighters stripped off their heavy gear and drank copious amounts of water when they were pulled off the fire. After some rest and hydration, they could gear up and go back inside.
The Greentree Apartments also received a visit from the fire department in October when a fire started in the wall of a basement apartment. Suspected causes were an electrical short or maintenance crews using hot tor to seal the edge of the parking lot where it met the outer wall of the apartment.
Three of the 16 apartments in the building were damaged Friday and the Red Cross is assisting four residents.
The cause of Friday’s fire is under investigation.
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