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Kent firefighters rescue woman from apartment fire
Kent firefighters rescued a woman following an apartment fire at about 8:30 p.m. Monday in the 24000 block of 104th Avenue Southeast.
The fire broke out in a first-floor apartment where the woman lived alone, according to a Kent Fire Department media release. The fire was controlled by a sprinkler system which had been retrofitted into the building approximately five years ago.
Firefighters were initially dispatched to a sprinkler alarm. They upgraded the call to a fire when they found smoke in the first floor common hallway of the three-story building. When they entered the apartment where the fire was located, they found the occupant unable to escape on her own.
They quickly evacuated her from the smoke-filled apartment to treatment by King County paramedics. She was then transported to a local hospital due to smoke inhalation. According to firefighters at the scene, the outcome of this fire could have been tragic if there had not been a sprinkler system.
The fire was limited to the one apartment due to the sprinkler system and a quick attack of the fire by firefighters. A small amount of water damage was sustained in the unit and hallway.
The cause of the fire was cigarettes improperly discarded in a container that caught fire and spread to the apartment's carpeting, according to fire investigators. The fire is considered accidental.
No one else was injured in the fire and those who evacuated the building were allowed back inside shortly after the fire was extinguished. Many of the residents chose to stay in their apartments with the exterior door closed to keep any smoke out. Fire officials said that is often the best option for the elderly or handicapped living in a multi-story building with a sprinkler system.
The Kent Fire Department has conducted several fire drills with the residents of the complex to prepare them for fire emergencies.
Fire officials remind smokers to discard cigarettes or other smoking material into a metal container and to store the container away from any combustible materials.