Three Dead in WA Fire, Others Evacuated Over Landslide Concerns

Christine Clarridge and Elise Takahama

The Seattle Times

(MCT)

Aug. 18—A Tukwila apartment fire killed two adults and a child Tuesday morning, and forced evacuations after a landslide risk hampered firefighter efforts, fire officials said.

Smoke and flames were rising from the roof by the time firefighters arrived at the four-story Maple Crest Apartments at South 151 Street and 65th Avenue South at 5:08 a.m., the Tukwila Fire Department said.

The adults and child were found dead inside one unit, Tukwila police spokesperson Victor Masters said Tuesday evening.

Access to the fire was hampered by the building’s location on a steep hill, according to the Tukwila Fire Department. Firefighters could not get to the back of the building and water from fire hoses unleashed mud and debris down the hill, causing a landslide risk to the hill and structures below, officials said.

Evacuations were ordered for the 15900 block of Interurban Avenue South due to the risk of landslide from the fire scene uphill, according to the Twitter account of public information officers in South King County. Officials met Tuesday morning with structural engineers.

At a 6 p.m. news conference, Tukwila fire spokesperson Jason Konieczka said crews were still on scene and keeping an eye on remaining hot spots. The main goal Tuesday night was to ensure the fire didn’t spread through the rest of the building, which was a complete loss, he said.

“We’re still working to determine if all smoke detectors and fire alarms were working properly,” Konieczka said, standing in front of the still-smoking apartment.

Interurban was expected to remain closed between Fort Dent Way and South 144th Street overnight due to landslide risks and will be reexamined Wednesday morning, Masters said.

Another building in the same complex, though not affected by the fire, was also evacuated due to landslide risk, officials said.

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