Faulty electrical equipment blamed for North Seattle apartment fire

SEATTLE -- A large fire at an apartment complex in North Seattle Saturday has been ruled accidental. Fire investigators determined the cause was from faulty electrical equipment in a kitchen on the second floor of the north side of the building.

Heavy smoke on a hot Saturday afternoon made for extra tough conditions battling a three alarm fire at the Park Meridian Apartments in North Seattle.

“This was a 3 alarm fire which brought in 13 engine companies and nine ladder trucks,” said Kristin Tinsley with the Seattle Fire Department.

SFD says 30 units at the apartment complex were impacted.

Alex Harris’ unit was one of them. He’s deaf and has lived at the complex for 25 years. He says his top floor unit is now a complete loss.

“I live right there, I lost everything,” said Harris.

Harris says he relied on his sense of smell and got out when he smelled the smoke. Harris says he thought it would be a little fire, but when he opened the door he was taken aback by how large it was.

“It was big. I wasn’t expecting that,” said Harris.

Harris wasn’t the only who didn’t hear the alarms, many residents say nothing alerted them that the building was on fire.

“No alarm and no sprinkler,” said Maria Malixi who lived on the third floor. Her unit, also a complete loss.

Outside of the apartment complex people who lived in the now charred building hugging each other as they found their fellow neighbors who managed to escape the burning building.

“I try to contain myself. As long as we are alive,” said Malixi who was shaken up but said she was grateful she and her two sons got out safely.

SFD says they called about half the city’s resources to fight the fire.

“It took a while for us to fight this fire,” said Tinsley. “It was a really large response, so about 50% of the city’s resources. But, if anything happened elsewhere in the city we could still allocate those resources,” said Tinsley.

She added the heat, the already poor air quality and a fire this large adding more smoke to the air caused them to alert people near the complex to take extra safety precautions.

“This was a huge fire, there was a lot of smoke generated from this fire, and we did issue an Alert Seattle message for a 1.5-mile radius letting people know to close windows and doors to reduce exposure to smoke,” said Tinsley.

The American Red Cross is assisting with shelter and medical needs for people affected by the fire.

SFD says about 70 people were impacted by the fire. Tinsley said one firefighter was taken to Harborview with minor injuries.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.