SFD: Cigarette sparked 'stubborn' West Central fire


by KREM.com


Posted on March 1, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Updated Saturday, Mar 1 at 7:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Investigators said a Friday night fire that destroyed much of a West Central apartment building was started by a cigarette.  The fire also sent a mother and her young son to the hospital.

Flames badly damaged the building Friday on the 1000 block of W. Boone Avenue, just north of Downtown Spokane.  On Saturday, firefighters returned to the scene for what appeared to be a serious flare up at the location.

Traffic was getting through on W. Boone in the area Saturday as firefighters mopped up.

The fire Friday night started around 10:40 p.m.  Firefighters reported visible fire showing from a second floor window at the rear of the two-story, wood-framed apartment building.

The fire was quickly up-graded to a working fire which added an additional Ladder Company to the incident. As additional crews were arriving on scene they were ordered to conduct roof ventilation, search and rescue, a back-up hose lead to protect the crew inside.

Authorities said the stubborn fire was pushed by the extreme winds that were developing outside. The Incident Commander requested a second alarm to get more firefighters to the scene.  

Officials said the intensity of the wind-driven fire was continuing to escalate and extremely cold temperatures created problems not only in firefighters’ breathing apparatus, but also took a toll on the firefighters themselves.

Firefighters finally were able to knock down the fire around two hours later.

Red Cross was requested to assist the tenants with temporary lodging. The mother and her son who were sent to the hospital suffered non-life threatening injuries after jumping from a second-story window, according to reports.  One firefighter suffered minor injuries when he slipped and fell on the ice-covered ground, officials said.

The fire caused severe damage to the second floor and the roof of the building, according to authorities.  Smoke and water damage were reported in the basement and first floor. Total damages were estimated at $100,000.

Eight engines, three senior ladders, one heavy rescue truck, two Command Vehicles and 40 firefighters responded to the incident.