Smoke on the first and second floors of the Touchmark retirement home on the south hill triggered a full response of four engines, two ladders and a heavy rescue, Saturday morning.
"As soon as I walked in the door I smelled a burnt wire smell," said Gail Hopkins.
Gail Hopkins was at Touchmark visiting her father when the alarms started going off.
"Within just a few minutes the fire department came and everybody was in good shape," said Hopkins.
With extensive smoke showing fire crews upgraded to a working fire and called in a total of 40 firefighters and all three ladder trucks from the city. One unit on the first floor was on fire, crews doused the flames in the walls and floor in 35 minutes.
"We spend an awful lot of time training for this, we train on regular intervals," said Touchmark Retirement Community Executive Director Jeff Bair.
Bair said smoke doors and fire systems worked perfectly.
"In a situation like this residents have a margin of safety to stay right where they are at for quite some time," said Bair.
Despite a gaping hole in the 499 unit apartment building, no residents had to leave. In fact, most went to breakfast in a separate wing.
"Made sure that people stayed in the building because we also have such cold weather so people couldn't go outside either," said Hopkins.
Meanwhile, fire crews had their own problems as one of the ladder trucks caught fire.
"It's out of service and we're trying to determine whether or not we will have to have it towed or if we're able to get it going again, but unfortunately a lot of the electrical system is damaged," said Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Fire Chief with the Spokane Fire Department.
Nobody was injured in Saturday's events and Bair said residents should all be back in their apartments by the end of the day.