UPDATE: The owner has not made a decision on what he wants to do with the building. He may make the decision as early as Monday.
SPOKANE, Wash - After a 4 alarm fire ripped through a Spokane apartment complex near 7th & Lincoln Tuesday, some 24 people were left without a home. Several units were destroyed and others had severe smoke and water damage.
Wednesday, as families began to return to survey the damage, several stories of heroism began to surface. One woman who doesn't even live in the complex told KHQ she ran in, knocking on doors and screaming, "fire!"
She and other residents are largely credited with helping everyone get out safely. Tyna Hillyard and Joe Johnson returned Wednesday to find their first floor apartment with a lot of water damage; they don't yet know how much of their personal belongings they'll be able to salvage. "Just look at it, it's gone!" Hillyard told KHQ. "We're just thankful to be alive, thank God it didn't happen at nighttime or it might have been even worse."
Johnson was asleep when the fire broke out, and he credits neighbors with helping him escape. "I was sleeping and the girl from next door, they woke me up and said it was a fire," he explained. William Houck and his girlfriend were also home when the smoke and flames began pouring from the building, and they're relieved today to find their apartment intact. "It was rough because I thought it might go all the way and we'd lose everything we'd ever had," he said.
"Luckily most of our stuff is okay, but I know other people, they lost a lot." Still, Houck and his girlfriend have to pack up and move out as the power and water have been cut off to the entire complex. When the building was on fire, it was all they could do to sit on the grass across the street and watch it burn. "You can watch it happen, and after half an hour of watching it, I just, I couldn't watch it anymore and we went for a walk, because I couldn't sit there and watch it," Houck said.
While there is a lot lost, residents say they're thankful to have each other. "We are blessed. I'm thankful," Hillyard added.