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

Both fires at the Park Tower Apartments caused by cigarettes

May 27, 2022 Updated Fri., May 27, 2022 at 7:26 p.m.

A firetruck ladder is raised toward the ninth floor of the Park Tower apartments Thursday on Spokane Falls Boulevard in downtown Spokane.  (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review)
A firetruck ladder is raised toward the ninth floor of the Park Tower apartments Thursday on Spokane Falls Boulevard in downtown Spokane. (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review)

Two fires on the ninth floor of the Park Tower Apartments were caused by cigarettes, Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said Friday.

The downtown Spokane apartment complex has caught fire twice in as many months, sending multiple people to the hospital.

The first fire on April 7 sent three people to the hospital, one with serious injuries. The fire was likely caused by smoking materials and a candle burning near the resident’s mattress, Schaeffer said.

After being evacuated, resident Carol Hart, who lives in the building with her dog, Cowboy, said she thought the cause of the fire was probably a resident smoking inside.

Many residents of the 20-story building, some on oxygen, have refused to stop smoking, making the building unsafe, Hart said.

“I don’t feel safe up there at all, and neither does Cowboy,” Hart said.

The second fire last week also was caused by a cigarette, Schaeffer said. The situation was complicated by the residents’ oxygen being on, he added.

Two people were treated in the building’s lobby and one was taken to the hospital with complications of smoke inhalation, Schaeffer said.

The tower, located at 217 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., has 184 units for residents 62 and over or those who have disabilities. The building is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

When reached Friday, a representative of the complex, owned by California Commercial Investment Group, declined to comment on the fires.

The danger of the fires is exacerbated by the lack of sprinklers, leaving the tower and its residents vulnerable, Schaeffer said.

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