Investigators say cigarette started Renton condo fire that displaces six families
RENTON – Six families have been forced from their homes, after fire swept through their condo complex. Investigators have determined that the fire started accidentally, when a resident put a cigarette out in the planter on his balcony.
“I just thank God that he took care of them.”
Sharon Grieve is grateful for the firefighters who went into her home this afternoon and rescued her dog Rory and her cat Max.
“I knew he was in there, he’s not a cat that’s going to go running out if they open the doors. So I knew he was hiding.”
The fire started in Grieve’s building at the River Valley Condos just after 2 pm. Neighbors say it spread quickly.
“We saw a small flame become a bigger flame, then go into the roof and become a humongous flame,” says Maili Black, who lives nearby.
“By the time I came outside which was 3 or four minutes, the whole top of the building was red flames,” adds Lucia Lacava.
Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to other nearby buildings. But six units are a complete loss, including Grieve’s.
“My husband died about two months ago,” she says. “I was just trying to start a new life, and then this happens.”
But she knows she’s lucky that she and her animals were able to get out, and none of her neighbors were hurt.
“My church is just right over here, and they told me they’re going to help in any way they can. Me and anybody else that needs help.”
The Red Cross is also helping the families with food, clothing and shelter.
Investigators estimate the damage at about a million and a half dollars.