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Seattle's Deadliest Fire In Years Kills 4 Children, 1 Adult

Seattle's Deadliest Fire In Years Kills 4 Children, 1 Adult

(Stock Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

June 13, 2010

SEATTLE — A blaze tore through a Seattle apartment Saturday and killed five people, including a number of children, fire officials said.

The fire was reported just after 10 a.m. in what authorities described as a two-story apartment unit in the city’s Fremont neighborhood north of downtown.

The first engine to respond had a problem with a pump that prevented it from spraying water on the fire, but the second unit to arrive was able to fight the fire, which was put out within about 40 minutes of when it was reported, said Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick.

It was the highest death toll for a Seattle fire in recent memory.

“We haven’t had anything like this in at least the last 10 years,” Fitzpatrick said.

The fire did not spread to any neighboring apartments. Its cause was not immediately known.

Fitzpatrick could not immediately confirm the victims’ ages, but told The Associated Press that some were children.

Chaplains joined Seattle fire investigators on scene, and two women were so distraught they were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Fitzpatrick said. Seattle police also sent bomb and arson units, as is standard in fire fatality investigations, she said.

The investigators were able to enter the building by midday.

Fremont is a trendy neighborhood on the Lake Washington Ship Canal known for its giant statue of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin and an annual summer solstice parade.

The neighborhood news website My Ballard described the initial scene outside the apartment as chaotic, with smoke pouring from the complex.

A witness told The Seattle Times that a woman ran from the building with a baby in her arms.

“She said, ‘fire!’ " Lisa May, of Bellevue, told the newspaper. " ‘My babies, my babies, my babies are inside.’ "

May said she stayed in the apartment complex Friday to attend the nearby University of Washington commencement ceremony Saturday.

One firefighter suffered a back injury and was taken to the hospital, Fitzpatrick said.