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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Crime/Public Safety

Browne’s Addition electrical fire displaces seven, damages historic building

Jan. 14, 2022 Updated Fri., Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:20 p.m.

An electrical fire Thursday morning damaged a historic Browne’s Addition building.

Occupants of apartments at 1631 W. Pacific Ave. reported visible flames on the ceiling just before 11:30 a.m.

Spokane firefighters arrived less than two minutes later to find fire on the second floor in a space above the living room, the Spokane Fire Department said in a news release.

The building, built in 1900, was a single-family home until it was modified into a six-unit apartment building, according to the fire department.

The remodeling and structural changes created void areas that were not accessible to residents. The fire, sparked by an electrical malfunction, burned unnoticed in the void area until it was visible through the living area ceiling, the fire department said.

While the building had working smoke alarms, they didn’t activate because the smoke was contained in the void space, according the fire department.

The damage was limited to structural joists in the ceiling, nearby insulation and combustibles in the attic, the fire department said.

All occupants evacuated safely, but seven people were displaced due to the fire.

The fire department said all electrical work should be done by a professional and inspected frequently. Tenants should watch closely for signs of overloaded circuits or old wiring that can generate heat and report any issues to building owners, the fire department said.

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