Fire levels Vancouver apartment complex

first_imgA two-alarm fire leveled a four-story apartment complex under construction in east Vancouver early Friday morning.A member of 24-Hour Fitness, 800 S.E. Tech Center Drive, saw the flames coming from the four-story complex at about 3:20 a.m. and called 911, said Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli.About 40 firefighters from the Vancouver and Camas-Washougal fire departments responded but were unable to save the building, which had been framed but lacked any fire protection features.“It was completely involved,” Scarpelli said. “Firefighters took a defensive attack on this fire to protect any exposure.”There were no reported injuries.Scarpelli said the Columbia Tech Center Lofts, planned as a 90-unit complex just south of Mill Plain Boulevard near Southeast 177th Avenue, was about 50 percent complete. The construction project has a price tag of more than $4 million, according to building permits. Scarpelli said because it hadn’t been outfitted with all its amenities, she estimated the financial loss somewhere between $3 and $3.5 million.Natural gas helped to fuel the flames until a utility crew shut off the line, but Scarpelli said the blaze burned the complex “to the ground.” Scarpelli said the circumstances of the fire are unusual, and the agency’s arson investigation team is looking into the fire. She said investigators looking for the cause of the fire will likely bring in a dog trained to detect accelerants.last_img

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