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Neighbors pull man to safety from burning Olympia apartment

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Olympia firefighters work on a fire at Heritage Park Apartments on Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Greg Wright/Olympia Fire Department.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two people broke into a burning apartment in west Olympia on Saturday night, and were able to rescue a man inside as firefighters arrived.

The man was later taken to a hospital for treatment, and crews credited the quick response of neighbors, and the complex’s fire alarm system, in helping get a head start in putting out the fire.

Olympia Deputy Fire Chief Greg Wright said that crews responded to a fire alarm at the Heritage Park Apartments, on the 1800 block of Evergreen Park Drive SW, just before 11 p.m. on Saturday. They arrived to find the manager of the apartment complex and a neighbor had broken down the door to the apartment where the fire was happening, with one pulling a man out of the unit while the other was using a fire extinguisher to try and put out the fire.

The man was later taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia to be treated for smoke inhalation. Wright said that he was expected to make a full recovery.

Firefighters were able to finish putting out the fire within 15 minutes. The fire heavily damaged the kitchen and electrical wiring, and Wright said crews had to tear out walls and a ceiling to make sure the fire didn’t spread beyond the one apartment.

Wright said the apartment beyond the kitchen had heavy smoke damage, and a neighboring unit was also damaged by smoke. The Red Cross is helping those affected by the fire.

A cause has not been determined, but Wright said the fire did start on a stove top in the kitchen. Investigators were back at the apartment on Sunday morning. Wright credited the automatic alarm system at Heritage Park for allowing neighbors to know a fire had started and to quickly call 911, giving fire crews at the scene faster.

There were no injuries to firefighters or to the neighbors who broke into the apartment to rescue the resident.

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