One dead, 6 hurt in early morning fire at Belltown apartment complex

SEATTLE — One man was killed and several other people hospitalized in a two-alarm fire at an apartment building in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.

Seattle Police say a 65-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning in connection with the fire.

Crews were called to the fire at the Vine Court Apartments, an affordable housing complex located at First Avenue and Vine Street, just after 2 a.m. Wednesday. Kaila Lafferty, a public information officer with the Seattle Fire Department, said the fire started in a unit on the third floor of the building, and spread to the fourth floor.

“The fire also went down the hallway of the third floor,” she said.

People living inside the building say the smoke was so thick, they couldn’t leave their homes without help from firefighters.

“I opened up my door and there was just smoke all in the hallway,” said Truth, a resident in the building.

One woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. Five other people were taken to hospitals. They all were stable, according to SFD.

“It’s the worst smoke I’ve ever experienced. I would’ve thought I was in the fire, it was hard to breathe,” said Brina Samft, who lives across the street from the building.

Upon arriving, firefighters quickly upgraded the call to a two-alarm fire to help get more resources to put it out. With more than 50 people needing treatment or evaluation at the scene, firefighters briefly called it a “mass casualty incident” to ensure people could be taken care of.

“It was quickly downgraded once they had enough resources to assist the number of people,” Lafferty said.

Both the Red Cross and Bellwether Housing are working to find places for the people living in the complex to stay.

For Truth, Vine Court was his path out of homelessness. He’s thankful for whenever he’ll be able to return home.

“It gives you a lot to be grateful for, there’s always something to be grateful for,” he said.

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