Story updated at 3:10 p.m. with information about the investigation.
The smell of smoke hung thick in the air and small flames were still visible in spots on Thursday morning, 12 hours after an apartment building under construction caught fire in Lynnwood.
The building, located at 19815 Scriber Lake Rd., was set to become The Reserve at Lynnwood, a 296-unit senior living complex. It would have been five-stories tall and was set to open later this year. It was engulfed in flames on Wednesday night.
Lynnwood Fire Spokeswoman Julie Moore said drywall had not yet been installed in the building when it caught fire, which may have contributed to its quick growth.
The cause of the fire is not yet known. Lynnwood Police is taking the lead on the investigation with assistance from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) National Response Team. It may be several weeks before investigators can determine the cause, Asst. Chief Jim Nelson said. Scriber Lake Road will remain closed in the area throughout the investigation, Nelson said.
Investigators are requesting that anyone with video or photos of the fire to retain them, as they may be requested in the near future as a part of the investigation. Anyone with information about how the fire may have started can submit a tip online or call Det. Brian Jorgensen at 425-670-5632.
The call initially came in at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. By the time crews arrived, the fire was fully involved. Firefighters were able to contain the fire by 1 a.m., Moore said. Flames were still large at that point, but crews had it contained to the single complex.
The building was vacant at the time of the fire. However, two firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the fire. They were taken to the hospital Wednesday night, but were released by Thursday morning.
Three neighboring apartment complexes were evacuated overnight. Those living at the Picket Hill Condominum complex, located at 5801 200th St. S.W., were able to return to their homes Thursday morning. Residents of Tanglewood Apartments, located at 5720 198th St. S.W., could return Thursday morning, but several units had windows broken out and so they were not secure.
The third complex, Lynnview Apartments at 5821 200th St. S.W., were left completely uninhabitable. The complex also burned down in August 2010 and were rebuilt more than a year later. It contained 36 units. The Red Cross is assisting affected families. Those in need of assistance or looking to help those in need of assistance should call 2-1-1.
Fire crews are expected to remain on Scriber Lake Road for at least the next 24 hours.
Several Snohomish County PUD customers lost power overnight as a result of the fire. As of 8:30 a.m., at least 50 remained without power.
Nearby communities may have seen ash on their porch from this fire, even from miles away. A reader in Brier reported seeing ash Thursday morning.
–By Natalie Covate