One Person Suffers Smoke Inhalation After Trying to Rescue Cat From Elma Fire

One person was transported from the scene of an Elma apartment fire yesterday. A joint press release from Fire District #5 and the Elma Fire Department said that they were dispatched to a commercial structure fire in the 300 block of S 2nd St in Elma at 5:23 pm on February 7th, 2018.

The structure, an apartment complex had a reported fire from the back side on an upper story apartment. Fire District 5 was also automatically dispatched for mutual aid.

First fire unit on scene, battalion chief Fulbright from Fire District 5 confirmed that there was fire venting from the porch side of the apartment. Fire District 2 , McCleary Fire and Fire District 12 were requested for additional mutual aid resources.

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It was confirmed that all occupants were out of the structure. One of the occupants from the primary involved apartment had gone back into the apartment prior to the arrival of fire units to attempt to retrieve a cat. That subject was transported to Summit Pacific for smoke inhalation as precautionary continued evaluation. The cat, was later rescued by firefighters, with the apartment manager looking after its care.

First fire engine in from the Elma Fire Department took lead for fire suppression, with Fire District 5’s engine team backing them up. Along with Fire District 5 there were approximately 29 responders from all fire agencies involved with a multitude of response apparatus.

The entire scene could be seen from the highway, State Route 12 and 911 dispatch had multiple callers reporting the fire and smoke going over the roadway/highway. The Elma Police Department along with a trooper from the Washington State Patrol assisted with traffic control and controlling entrance to the scene.

Fire crews had the fire knocked down and contained to only the one involved apartment at 5:57. The involved apartment is at a total loss and all items inside. The apartment below sustained heavy water damage from the suppression efforts, with 2 others having minor smoke damage. Occupants of the surrounding apartments were allowed to enter and or return to their apartments after fire crews had checked and confirmed safe for reentry.

Battalion Chief Fulbright said in an after-action meeting that the response from volunteers and staff to fight the fire was impressive, and contributed to containing the fire to the one apartment.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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