Cigarette Causes Apartment Fire on South Hill - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cigarette Causes Apartment Fire on South Hill

SPOKANE, Wash. - A normally quiet Friday morning turned into a race for survival at a Spokane apartment complex. Authorities say a fire broke just after 3 a.m. at 2008 West 9th Avenue.

"A guy fell asleep with the cigarette on the couch, which started a fire on the couch cushion," explains John Kimsey, property manager for the complex. "He then took it (the cushion) into the bathroom, put it in the bathtub, put water on it and went back to bed. Of course, then the fire started up again."

Authorities say the fire started on the second floor and crews had it contained within 30 minutes.  Kimsey says alarms woke up the residents inside, all who escaped without injuries. He says about half of the complex is destroyed, with most of the damage on the second floor and the back of the complex. The six tenants are staying with friends and family until further notice.  Kimsey says the owners have plans to rebuild with early cost estimates at least $100,000.

Spokane Police confirm initial reports show the fire was caused by a burning cigarette but an official investigation is ongoing.

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