Candle left burning led to early-morning evacuation

An apartment fire Saturday, Sept. 22, was an early-morning wake-up call for the residents of a building in the 38500 block of Southeast Newton Street in Snoqualmie.

The fire, reportedly caused by an unattended candle, set off a smoke detector at around 6 a.m. and within minutes, firefighters from Snoqualmie, North Bend and Fall City were en route to the building.

"When we got there, the occupants had pretty much put out the fire with a portable extinguisher," said Snoqualmie Fire Chief Bob Rowe.

Residents had also spread the word of the fire, which was limited to one apartment, and had begun evacuating the residents. Firefighters completed the evacuation, and aid transported one patient suffering smoke inhalation to a hospital.

Rowe said the firefighters basically only had "mop-up" duties since the fire had been small -- an unattended candle had burned down and ignited some nearby fabric items -- and residents had acted so quickly.

"This time they did the right thing because the fire was very small," Rowe said, but added that generally, "We don't want people to try to extinguish larger fires and get themselves hurt."

By 8:40 p.m., the fire investigation and clean-up were complete. All of the unaffected apartments were immediately habitable, and the apartment that originated the fire had sustained about $5,000 in structural and content damages.


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