SEATTLE - A three-alarm fire in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood left two people in critical condition, and a third in serious condition Sunday night.
According to Seattle Fire, a total of eight people – including an infant – had to be rescued from the four-story apartment building at the corner of Madison Street and 9th Avenue.
Crews arrived shortly after 8 p.m. and witnessed multiple people calling for help from the fourth floor.
Fire crews did a second-sweep through the building following their initial rescues, and found a service dog named Moon.
Her owner, Nina Ford, told FOX 13 News that her dog helps her PTSD. She wasn’t inside when the fire began, but had just come home from dinner with a friend to find the smoke billowing into the sky and fire crews rushing in.
"I have PTSD," said Ford wiping away tears. "I just want to make sure she’s safe."
Ford was later reunited with her dog, inside a large crowd of firefighters. The tears of joy changed over to tears of joy and relief as she shouted "thanks yous" to fire crews.
Seattle fire officials said three people were taken to Harborview Medical Center – a woman and man in their 60s were in critical condition, and an 81-year-old man was in serious condition.
Other residents were concerned about how long it would be until they could return to their homes.
The smoke that had given firefighters challenges inside had spread throughout the entire building – the smoke was visible from I-5. Red Cross teams were on scene working with locals. Mayor Bruce Harrell even arrived to talk with firefighters and people who had been forced out into the street.
Howard Simpson, a long-time resident, said he regularly hears fire alarms in the building.
"Normally I don’t even leave the building because they’re fake, but this time I heard someone knocking yelling: ‘It’s a real fire, it’s a real fire,’" said Simpson.
"The building itself, I'm surprised it didn't catch on fire long ago—the homeless breaking in, smoking, doing drugs in the back staircase," said resident Darcy Johnson.
Johnson lived at the apartment for five years on a subsidized rent program. According to the city's Department of Housing, the building's owner made a deal in 2018 to make every apartment available to low-income housing or people receiving a rent supplement.
21 adults and one baby are staying at a Red Cross shelter at the Garfield Community Center. Their stays are indefinite.
A spokesperson with the Department of Housing said the city is looking for alternative places to stay until it's determined which apartments can be reoccupied.
The fire was extinguished after 10 p.m. but crews remained at the scene. Officials ruled the fire as accidental, and was caused by an open flame that tipped over onto a mattress and ignited it.
Damage was estimated at $1,000,000.