Seven people were displaced Wednesday after a two-alarm fire ripped through part of an apartment complex in Vancouver, and one resident of the complex rescued a neighbor’s dog from a burning building.
The fire was reported at about 12:50 p.m. at 5515 N.E. 82nd Ave., in The Avenues apartment complex north of Westfield Vancouver mall in the East Minnehaha neighborhood. Firefighters approaching from nearby Station 5 saw a smoke plume and requested a second alarm.
Upon arrival, firefighters reported two apartment buildings on fire, with flames on the first and second floor in at least one of the buildings. Fire alarms were ringing throughout the complex.
Nate Young, 25, said he was in his apartment with his girlfriend two doors down from where the fire broke out when he smelled smoke, went out back and saw the back of an apartment on fire.
Young and other apartment residents banged on the door of the burning apartment and heard a dog barking inside, Young said. He forced his a way in through a window and climbed over a television set to rescue the animal. The dog’s owners were not home.
He said it seemed like a small fire at the time, but it ended up being much larger.
Flames burned through the roof of one of the buildings as firefighters worked to contain the blaze, both from the ground and from the roof of the building. Firefighters declared the fire under control around 1:25 p.m.
The dog, a brown miniature pinscher named Roski, was being watched over by Young and other neighbors as firefighters worked. Young used his belt as a makeshift leash for the dog.
“I’m just glad everyone is all right, humans and animals alike,” he said.
Vancouver Fire Capt. Scott Willis said the fire started in a downstairs unit toward the back of the building, spreading upwards to two upstairs units. He said it was “remarkable” that firefighters were able to contain the fire to the center of the building. Otherwise, he said, it could have fanned out in the attic and spread through the rest of the building.
After getting the blaze under control, firefighters started tearing out smoldering building materials. Willis said additional units were damaged by smoke and water.
The Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office estimated the damage to the structure and its residents’ belongings at $225,000.
Willis said the Red Cross assisted seven people displaced by the fire. Others in the building that needed help sought out family and friends. Firefighters were not sure if heat from the blaze affected any nearby houses.
A cat from one of the apartments affected by fire was taken to a veterinary hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Another cat was found unharmed after the fire was extinguished.
Willis said 35 firefighters from Vancouver and Portland responded to the fire.