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

Woman dies after early morning Browne’s Addition apartment fire

Nov. 12, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 12, 2022 at 7:11 p.m.

A woman died after a Browne’s Addition apartment caught fire early Saturday morning.

A neighbor on the 2300 block of West Pacific Avenue called 911 around 3:10 a.m. and reported a strong chemical smell, saying she also heard what she believed to be an argument and a woman crying, and a sound comparable to someone falling over, according to a Spokane Fire Department news release.

Spokane police officers responded and reported a similar chemical odor before determining a unit in the apartment building was on fire, firefighters said.

Firefighters responded and saw heavy fire on the back of the apartment building, the release said.

John Combs, a neighbor, said he awoke to the fire trucks’ lights on his street. He said he saw flames rise all the way to tree branches hanging over the roof of the building.

“That little apartment building was really going up,” Combs said. “So good thing they got there when they did.”

Police found the woman in cardiac arrest and pulled her from the apartment. Firefighters tried resuscitating the woman while other crews worked to extinguish the fire. The flames were confined mainly to the apartment unit and extinguished in 25 minutes.

The building was evacuated and all occupants were accounted for, the fire department said.

Marlene Martino, who has lived at the apartment building for 15 years, said the fire displaced everyone who lives there. The American Red Cross assisted those, including Martino, who needed hotel accommodations. Martino said she did not know when she and other residents would be able to return to their units. She believed the building holds eight units.

Martino said the water used by firefighters to extinguish the flames flooded her unit on the first floor. The fire damaged a unit on the top floor, she said.

“It’s a disaster in there,” Martino said of her flooded apartment. “It’s terrible.”

She said she was sleeping when the fire started, but then her dog started barking and she heard a woman scream. Shortly after, firefighters and police officers knocked on her door and told her to evacuate.

Martino said she got her dog out of her unit, but her cat would not come out. She said first responders told her the cat would be OK.

Martino said she saw flames on the backside of the building and smelled smoke when she got outside. She said the woman who died had recently moved into the building.

“I’m very stressed out and upset,” Martino said.

The woman’s name and details surrounding her death will come from Spokane police’s Major Crimes Unit and the Spokane County Medical Examiner, the release said.

Monetary loss from the fire has not been determined, and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Spokane Fire Department’s Special Investigation Unit.

The fire is the second fatal blaze in Browne’s Addition in as many years.

Two people were killed in a suspicious fire that engulfed two apartment buildings on West Second Avenue in August 2021.

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