Bellingham fire marshal: Apartment fire that started in bushes 'a little bit suspicious'

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 20, 2013 

YORK STREET FIRE

Herald reader Bob Reeves sent this photo of firefighters at an apartment complex at 1060 York St. on Sunday, May 19, 2013.

BOB REEVES — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

BELLINGHAM - Investigators are still looking into what ignited a fire that started in bushes before spreading to an apartment building near Civic Field Sunday evening, May 19, according to the Bellingham fire marshal.

The fire started at about 7:20 p.m. in two patches of bushes next to an apartment complex at 1060 York St., then spread to the building's siding and into its attic.

"To have two separate bushes catch fire 100 feet apart or so is a little bit suspicious," Bellingham Fire Marshal Jason Napier said.

He hopes to find out more about how the bushes caught fire as witness information comes in.

Crews from the Bellingham Fire Department were able to extinguish the blaze in about 15 minutes, limiting damage to a portion of the building's siding and its attic.

A top-floor apartment on the end of the building suffered water damage from the fire in the attic above, and the two people living in that unit were displaced. The resident of the unit below also couldn't stay in the apartment Sunday night because there was water damage inside the ceiling that had to be assessed, Napier said. He estimated the damage to the building at $58,000.

The damage could have been more dramatic if residents at the apartment hadn't fought the fire in the bushes.

"If they hadn't done what they did, it would have been a lot worse outcome," Napier said.

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher Blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow us on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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