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Electrical malfunction causes fire at Browne’s Addition apartment

Browne’s Addition residents were able to evacuate the building and nobody was injured. However, seven residents were left without a house.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Seven Spokane residents were left without a home Thursday after a fire in a historic Browne’s Addition apartment building. 

Spokane Fire Department (SFD) responded to a Browne’s Addition home fire at 1631 W. Pacific Ave. after residents reported seeing flames on the apartment's ceiling about 11:30 a.m., fire officials said in a press release.

SFD arrived less than two minutes later and quickly located the fire on the second floor by opening the void areas above the living spaces.

The Browne's building was built in 1900 as a single-family residence and then it was modified into a six-unit apartment commercial building. The remodeling and structural changes created void areas that were inaccessible for residents, according to a press release from the SFD.

According to the report, an electrical malfunction in the structure's wiring caused the fire and was unnoticed until it was visible through the ceiling area and was noticed by residents.

Although the building had smoke alarms, they didn't activate during the fire as the smoke was contained to a space where a smoke detector wouldn't detect, the report said.  

All the building residents were able to evacuate the building and nobody was injured. However, seven residents were displaced from their apartments and they are working with the Greater Inland Northwest Red Cross to find shelter until the building damage gets repaired.

The fire damaged structural joists located in the ceiling, adjacent insulation and combustibles nearby in the attic, the report said.

SFD advises tenants to watch closely for signs of overloaded circuits or old wiring that can generate heat and report findings to their landlords. The SFD said tenants should call their landlords and a qualified professional if they have recurring problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers, experiencing a tingling feeling when touching an electric appliance, or having flickering lights.

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