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No one was injured in a structure fire that was started by an unattended barbecue on the southeast corner of North Alder Street and East Dean Nicholson Boulevard Saturday afternoon.

The fire at the unattended barbecue caught the yard on fire, which caught a fence on fire, which caught a vehicle on fire which led to the structure fire.

Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue Chief John Sinclair said one of the tenants of the structure had started the barbecue but changed her mind and decided to let the coals burn themselves out.

“Those (coals) apparently communicated down to the ground. There was sort of a layer of pinecones and pine needles in the yard, that carried the fire over to a fence. The fence caught a car that was there on fire, which then quickly communicated the fire over to the structure and caught the structure on fire,” Sinclair said.

In addition to the residents, a number of pets were located inside the structure. Sinclair said no one even suffered smoke inhalation.

“What this is a good example of is that even in the city, it is a good idea for people to maintain their yards because this time of year, fire can spread very rapidly,” Sinclair said.

The 911 call was made at 4:42 p.m. CWU Police were the first on the scene two minutes later, with KVFR arriving at 4:46 p.m. Sinclair said four engines arrived to put out the blaze with a total of 12 firefighters. He said the fire was under control around 5:20 p.m.

The car that caught fire was a “complete and total loss” according to Sinclair. He estimates that around $100,000 to $150,000 in damage was done to the building. He said the damage to the living area of the structure wasn’t severe, and according to Sinclair, the owner of the property will be making repairs, and bringing the tenants back as soon as possible.

Three tenants in two duplexes were displaced by the fire, one of whom was the woman who started the barbecue. The Red Cross was called to take care of the residents for the time being.


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