Fire likely to displace Camas families

Smoke, arcing wires create unsafe situation, official says

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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A few families will likely be displaced after smoke and arcing wires came from a light fixture in a Camas apartment building Wednesday afternoon.

Camas-Washougal Fire Department Capt. Kevin Bergstrom said there was no significant fire activity, but the age of the building and nature of the apparent problem meant firefighters had to stay on scene for hours to ensure the fire didn’t spread.

The fire was reported from the 2300 block of Southwest Sixth Avenue shortly before 2:30 p.m.

Bergstrom said those inside one of the apartments in the six-unit building called after seeing smoke coming from a ceiling light fixture, then arcing wires underneath.

Responding firefighters didn’t see other fire activity beyond some light smoke, he said.

Bergstrom said later in the afternoon it was taking substantial time for firefighters to cut through the ceiling and into the building to ensure there was no more fire.

“Unfortunately, it’s buried in a lot of old cellulose insulation that burns like a candle,” he said.

The building’s power was also cut. Bergstrom said a few families would have to find another place to stay due to the fire. The Red Cross was called to help.

County property records were unclear, but Bergstrom estimated the building was built in the 1930s or ’40s.