Electrical problem may be culprit for four-alarm apartment fire

SPOKANE, Wash. - Fire investigators believe an electrical problem in an apartment building's attic is responsible for the four-alarm fire at the Tekoa Apartments Tuesday afternoon at 7th and Lincoln.

While thousands of dollars in personal belongings may have been lost, fire officials are thankful that no lives were lost.

Four units were destroyed and most of the other units in the complex suffered water and smoke damage. In total $1.2 Million in damage was left in the wake of the fire.

Tekoa apartments fire investigation vo

"When you have a fire of this magnitude it weakens all the structural numbers, we bring in water and foam and it has an impact on everything," Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

The fire, Schaeffer explained, started in the attic and rapidly spread across the complex.

"Since the attic was one big occupied space, there were no fire stops, there were no walls that acted as barriers that confined the fire to one section or the other," Schaeffer added.

Fires typically start from the ground and go up but this one started from the top and quickly moved down.

"The fire grew exponentially and then as it consumed all the fuel and oxygen above us, it started dropping," Schaeffer said.

75 firefighters from 16 different Spokane Fire units were involved in battling the blaze Tuesday to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading.

The west side of the apartment complex suffered the most damage, but as crews surveyed the scene Wednesday, they were thankful things turned out the way they did as it could have ended much worse.

"This fire could have been worse, much worse, if it wasn't for the aggressiveness of the firefighters getting on the roof and fighting their way up in the area," Schaeffer said.

Most of the residents who lived in the complex and were displaced by the fire do not have renter's insurance.