Possible causes narrow in large fire

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Fire investigators haven’t yet determined what sparked Sunday’s three-alarm fire at a Hazel Dell apartment complex, but they have narrowed down the possibilities.

The fire was not electrical or caused by anything having to do with the building itself, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Curtis Eavenson. He said he has a couple possible causes, but not enough evidence to definitely say it’s one or the other.

The fire began in a walkway on the third floor of the M building at Bridge Creek Apartment Homes, 9211 N.E. 15th St. The fire was reported at 5:12 a.m. Sunday and caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage, leaving all 18 apartments uninhabitable.

About 60 to 70 people were displaced by the fire, Fire District 6 spokeswoman Sarah Mitchelson said. Investigators still have to finish interviewing those people, Eavenson said.

Anyone who saw someone on the M building’s third-level walkway after midnight Sunday, is asked to call the fire marshal’s office at 360-397-2186.