Duplex Fire Sunday Morning

Here’s some breaking news from Snohomish County Fire District 1 about a fire this morning near 214th and 46th:

A fire at a Mountlake Terrace duplex caused $50,000 damage and displaced three residents this morning.

The fire at the two-story duplex in the 21400 block of 46th Pl. W was reported around 8:15 a.m. by a neighbor who is a retired firefighter. No one was home in the second-floor unit where the fire started. The neighbor who reported the fire pounded on the door to wake the resident of the first-floor unit. The man safely exited the building and there were no injuries.

Smoke and flames were coming from a back window on the second floor of the duplex when firefighters arrived. Firefighters from Snohomish County Fire District 1, which serves the City of Mountlake Terrace, were joined by firefighters from Lynnwood and Edmonds. They quickly brought the fire under control and were able to contain the fire to one bedroom.

The fire investigator determined the fire was most likely started by combustibles placed too close to an in-wall electric heater. “Every fall when the temperature drops we see fires like this. Many in-wall and baseboard electric heaters can be turned down, but cannot be completely shut off. When the temperature drops low enough, the heater comes on,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Fire District 1. “Now is a good time to check to make sure all combustible items such as papers, books, furniture, curtains and clothing are at least three feet away from these types of heaters.”

Hynes said it was fortunate the neighbor discovered the fire before it had a chance to spread throughout the duplex.

The neighbor lives at an apartment complex to the west of the duplex. He told firefighters he was in the parking lot when he smelled smoke. “As a former firefighter, he thought the smoke had the distinct smell of a structure fire so he decided to investigate where it was coming from,” Hynes said.

The neighbor went to a parking lot on the other side of the apartment complex where he could see smoke coming from the eaves on the back of duplex. He called 9-1-1, got in his car and drove around to the front of the duplex, so he was able to give dispatchers the exact address. Next, he pounded on the doors to make sure everyone was out of the building.

“He went out of his way to track down the fire and make sure everyone was safe,” said Hynes. “We’re very grateful he was up and about this morning.”

The first-floor unit sustained minor water damage, and the resident will be able to stay in his home.

The two men and one woman who lived in the second-floor unit were away at the time of the fire. They do not have insurance and plan to stay with friends.

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