LAKEWOOD, Wash. – An early morning fire that destroyed one home and damaged a duplex in the South Sound remains under investigation.
The two-alarm fire in the Lakewood neighborhood of Tillicum started at one home, then forced the evacuations of people living nearby.
City officials say the home where the fire began had been red-tagged well before this morning’s fire, and because there was so much debris and garbage dumped on the property the fire quickly spread to nearby structures.
The fire was large and already spreading to nearby properties by the time firefighters arrived on Union Avenue.
Witnesses had been pounding on doors alerting neighbors in danger.
“I heard someone knocking on the door, banging really loud,” said nine-year-old Waleed Abdullah.
“We got out in the nick of time,” said his mother Jameelah.
Neighbors told Q13 News the previous tenants at the home had recently been evicted, then squatters moved into the tagged home and garbage started piling up.
The city says it had been in talks with the out-of-state property owner to clean up the mess, adding that a hearing with a judge to determine the next steps had been scheduled for the coming weeks.
A spokesperson for the city of Lakewood said the city offers an abatement program for derelict homes and urges other neighbors to contact city hall.
The home severely damaged during Friday mornings fire will be torn down as soon as possible, according to a city spokesperson.