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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Fire at Sunset Hill Apartments causes severe damage to several units

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 30, 2020

James Wall, left, Sunset Hill Apartments manager, and maintenance tech Austin Smith clean up around a three-unit fire Wednesday. According to officials, the fire started on the first floor and spread to the third.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
James Wall, left, Sunset Hill Apartments manager, and maintenance tech Austin Smith clean up around a three-unit fire Wednesday. According to officials, the fire started on the first floor and spread to the third. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A fire early Wednesday at an apartment building in west Spokane caused significant damage to multiple units, displacing several tenants.

Firefighters were called to Sunset Hill Apartments, at 2804 W. 7th Ave., just before 2:15 a.m., Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

James Wall, community manager at the complex, said the fire was caused by an electrical issue.

Based on an initial investigation from the fire marshal, Wall said the cause of the fire was an outdoor light bulb that went out, raining sparks on a nearby garbage can, which then lit the porch of the ground-level apartment on fire.

“As soon as it caught one deck, it lit the other one,” Wall said.

The second- and third-floor apartments sustained the most severe fire damage, with the ground-level apartment flooding due to water sprayed on the fire.

“It goes from fire damage to water damage,” Wall said.

While there was severe damage to some units, Schaeffer said it could have been much worse since the fire moved into the attic.

“It certainly could have moved horizontally to the other units,” Schaeffer said. “They saved the apartment building and they saved the adjacent ones.”

The building houses 12 apartments, with the majority undamaged. Wall said the Spokane Fire Department arrived quickly and had the fire out within 15 minutes.

No one was injured in the fire, Wall said. One person was treated on scene by paramedics for minor smoke inhalation, Schaeffer said.

“Everybody got out just fine,” Wall said.

One cat is still missing, but Wall is confident it got out of the fire. A handful of people were displaced.

The fire was ruled accidental, Schaeffer said.

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