Kirkland Police are being credited with evacuating residents of a six-unit apartment structure at 8th Avenue and Market Street that was heavily damaged by fire early Friday morning.
There were no injuries, but occupants of all six units were displaced, and four of the units were heavily damaged, with one apparently destroyed.
“We had police knocking on doors and helping residents out,” said acting Battalion Chief Greg Picinich at the scene. “This was a fire that was mostly on the exterior. There were no injuries to residents and no injuries to firefighters.”
A post on the Kirkland Firefighters Facebook page indicated that a police officer passing by spotted the fire and began evacuating residents. “A KPD officer driving by evacuated numerous occupants prior to FD arrival,” it said. “First arriving KFD units found a large volume of fire on the exterior of the 3 story building.”
Picinich said residents of all six units had to find other accommodations. Two of the units suffered only smoke damage. “We offered help, and so far they (the occupants) all have family and friends helping them,” he said.
The fire began just after 3 a.m. The cause is under investigation. Picinich declined to speculate on the cause, but said the current hot weather and dry conditions were a concern. “Clearly when it’s hot like this, everything is very susceptible to fire,” he said.
However, it appears that trees and vegetation surrounding the apartment building did not ignite in this case.
Firefighters from Bellevue, Redmond and Bothell assisted the Kirkland Fire Department. A Bellevue ladder truck was used to fight the fire on top of the structure.
Market Street, a main thoroughfare between downtown Kirkland and Juanita was closed in both directions for a few hours; the southbound lane was reopened at about 6 a.m., and firefighters were wrapping up at about 7 a.m. and expected to reopen the northbound lanes.