LONGVIEW, Wash. - An apartment fire at 1593 Beech St in Longview damaged two units Wednesday, but residents at one point feared the damage would be much worse.
Firefighters from Longview and Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue responded to a report at 9:11 a.m. that smoke was coming out of the wall and through the door jamb of her apartment unit.
While fire units were responding to the scene, the crew was told that a person was holed up in an upstairs unit and would not evacuate, reported Longview Police & Fire.
Upon arrival firefighters reported smoke from the attic, indicating a possible attic fire. Sure enough, they could see the face of an adult female calmly starring out an upstairs window.
Her unit was immediately adjacent to the one on fire, and a crowd of frantic citizens were pounding on the door trying to encourage her to exit the building, the fire department said.
Fire crews immediately directed their effort to evacuate the occupant, using forcible entry to open her door and escort her across the street to an area of safety. Then they put out the blaze.
The six-plex building was initially built as a single family home, and over the years had been remodeled extensively, creating a non-typical layout and many confined spaces, which made locating and accessing the fire difficult, said the fire department.
Fire investigators determined that the fire started in the clothes dryer vent centrally located in the downstairs of apartment 104 and spread upstairs and into the attic through a vertical soffit.
The two damaged units were determined uninhabitable. Red Cross was called to the scene to provide assistance for the displaced families.