YAKIMA, Wash. — Firewalls designed to prevent flames from spreading are credited with confining a fire to a single residence in a 45-unit Yakima apartment building Tuesday morning.
Nearly 40 firefighters from five Upper Valley fire departments were eventually called to the 5:40 a.m. fire at 711 W. Walnut St.
No people were injured, but several cats may have died and total damage is estimated at $210,000.
Initially, a single fire engine was dispatched after receiving a report of a fan fire in an apartment, according to the Yakima Fire Department.
But when the crew arrived, fire and smoke were visible from an apartment and additional help was called.
Firefighters credit the smoke alarm and a pet for alerting the apartment’s two occupants to the fire and both escaped without injury along with their dogs. However, several cats are missing and may have died, firefighters said.
Police and firefighters evacuated all the occupants of the apartment complex.
A 6-foot-high security fence around the apartments delayed getting water on the fire, but firefighters stopped the fire at the apartment where it started, Battalion Chief Mitch Cole said in a news release.
The apartment where the fire started was destroyed, including the contents.
There was also damage to the apartment directly below and on either side.
Occupants of three apartments were displaced. The Red Cross was assisting two of the displaced families, while a third had family nearby to help, according to the fire department.
Cause of the fire is blamed on a free-standing fan. Fire officials estimate the blaze caused $180,000 in damage for the structure and cleanup costs and $30,000 for contents lost.