4th and bernard fire

SPOKANE, Wash. - The cause of a downtown Spokane apartment fire that displaced multiple residents on March 20 has been ruled accidental. 

Spokane Fire Department investigators advise that the fire was ignited after a bedside candle came in contact with a pillow after a resident fell asleep. 

The fire quickly spread but firefighters were able to contain it to three apartments in the three-story building in the 300 block of W. 4th Ave. 

Occupants told investigators they began evacuating after hearing the sound of an alarm, which had been activated from a pull station.

No injuries were reported to civilians, but one firefighter had to be taken to the hospital for dehydration. They were later released.

The Spokane Fire Department urges community members to follow these safety tips to help avoid a candle-related tragedy from happening:

  • Use battery-operated, flameless candles as an alternative to traditional, open flame candles. 
  • If you do use candles, be sure they are placed in sturdy holders.
  • Use candles in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders that are placed where they won't tip over easily. B sure they are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire such as decorations, curtains and draperies, bedding, clothing, books, etc.
  • Always extinguish candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never leave your home with candles burning and don't leave candles burning unattended.
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
  • Keep candle wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holders. Votive candles and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.