YAKIMA, Wash. — Several people were displaced Saturday morning when a fire caused by an electrical space heater badly damaged an apartment building in the 300 block of South Third Street.
Firefighters responding to the blaze about 7:20 a.m. found heavy smoke and flames coming from the two-story building, according to a news release from the Yakima Fire Department.
Flames were threatening other structures on all sides of the burning building, the release said.
All occupants escaped without injury, and 25 firefighters kept the fire from spreading to nearby structures, the release said.
Firefighters learned that power lines had become involved in the blaze and a crew from Pacific Power was called out to shut off power to the lines, according to the release.
Although firefighters quickly knocked down the main blaze, it took several hours to fully extinguish because the older building allowed flames to quickly travel through walls and into the attic, the release said.
One firefighter suffered an unspecified injury, but refused to be taken to a hospital.
Seven people living in five different apartments were displaced, and are now being assisted by family and the Red Cross, officials said.
Firefighters said the building was likely a total loss, and damage was estimated at $80,000.
The fire was caused by an electrical space heater that was plugged into an extension cord and placed too close to bedding, the release said.
Firefighters urge people to keep combustibles at least 3 feet from space heaters, not to use extension cords and to make sure portable heaters have a tip-over shutoff switch.