Local News

WSU students scrambling for new housing after Grove Apartments burn

PULLMAN, Wash. - Grove fire aftermath

The scramble is on for students at Washington State University who were supposed to live in the Grove Apartments complex this fall. That complex, which was under construction, was destroyed by fire over the weekend.

Fire investigators are now on the scene and officials say they will use a helicopter to fly over the area and bring in an accelerant sniffing dog to help determine the start location and the cause of this fire.

"Three bedroom, own shower, own bathroom, you know, walk in closet," WSU football player Tracy Clark said as he looked over the charred wood and rubble is all that's left of his once future home.

Clark stopped by the Grove leasing office Monday afternoon to find out where he's going to live come fall semester.

"With football season coming around we at least need a spot, somewhere to stay 'cause we're staying with teammates and stuff," said Clark.

The fire started early Sunday and two framed structures were already ablaze when firefighters arrived.

"Flames were about 100 feet in the air by then, so it got off to a good start before we even got here," Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston said.

That's one reason fire officials say the blaze that destroyed four buildings in various stages of completion is suspicious.

"Sounds like we might get a investigation dog come in later this afternoon if not tomorrow to see if we can locate any accelerants on the site," said Heston.

On Monday investigators combed over melted trucks, damaged heavy machinery and charred timber at the scene.

"We are going to rule out different causes to make sure, electrical power and those kinds of things," Heston said.

Washington State University, meanwhile, is prepared to help find living space for displaced students who had been planning to live in the apartment complex once it was completed.

"We added 300 beds this year and so we've got a little bit of space in the residence halls," said Bob Tattershall, director of Housing and Conference Services for WSU.

However a spokesperson for the Grove said they are confident they will be able to provide alternate housing for all affected students, something they'll be working out soon.

"Hopefully in the next couple days, you know they will let us know a little bit more so we can have a feel for what we need to do," Clark said.

The apartment complex was supposed to be open in about a month and be ready for tenants to move in. If they had been completed, the estimated value of the complex would have been $13 Million.