Explosion rattled neighborhood before north Spokane apartment blaze

SPOKANE, Wash. - explosion apartment fire vo

Neighbors say they heard a loud explosion in a North Spokane apartment complex moments before flames poured from the second floor Monday night.

Fire crews responded to the Center Court Apartments on East Cozza just after 10 p.m. to find one unit already up in flames. Engine 18 was the first on scene and immediately upgraded the fire to a working fire, then to a second alarm fire, because of the size of the building and the amount of fire showing.

Center Court resident Allan Salter returned home Tuesday for the first time since the fire destroyed his neighbor's apartment.

"We'll see what kind of damage we got going on," said Salter.

The fire started just after 10 p.m. with a loud explosion.

"The kitchen wall kinda exploded out, the drywall did," said Salter.

The flames spread into an empty apartment on the third floor and into the attic.

"Drywall kinda just split open and smoke started barreling into our apartment," said Salter.

Neighbors 100 yards away said they could feel the shock wave from the explosion.

"All of the sudden you hear this ba-boom sound and the sliding glass door started shaking," said Center Court resident Tyler Baudin.

Salter made sure his family was safe then headed to his neighbors, toward the fire, knocking down their front door.

"Flames just rushed out. Just rushed out above my head and the people that were inside kinda just ran by me," said Salter.

Fire crews made an aggressive attack on the fire from the second floor and from the roof.

"When we first got there all three units were engulfed and there were lots of flames coming up and it looked just like a wall of fire," said neighbor Dustin Bear.

The fire destroyed at least two apartments and sent one person to the hospital with smoke inhalation. The apartments above and below where the fire were unoccupied but some nearby units sustained smoke and water damage. Salter says he's not sure where his family will live now.

"Don't know yet. Don't know. Hoping we can at least get in there and get our stuff that's not ruined," said Salter.

The Red Cross is helping the six people displaced by this fire. The property management company says the damage closed nine apartments but that they have alternative housing available.