100 people displaced by apt. fire

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by By KING Staff and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 25 at 1:32 PM

SEA-TAC, Wash. - One-hundred residents of a 48-unit apartment complex in Sea-Tac were displaced by a three-alarm fire that brought out 75 firefighters from south King County Saturday night.

Video: 100 people burned out of Sea-Tac apartment complex

Dave Nelson, public information officer with the Skyway Fire Department, said two women jumped from a third-story balcony or balconies and were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where they were listed in critical condition.

"She fell right in front of us," said Max Aulai, who helped the victims. "We tried to put the steps, so she could get to the steps but she just jumped."

Nelson said seven people had minor injuries, mostly minor burns, and were taken to area hospitals. A firefighter suffered minor injuries, but was allowed to remain on the scene battling the blaze.

Buses were brought in to keep evacuees out of the cold.

Nelson said the fire broke out at the Emerald Place Apartments at 6:56 p.m. and when firefighters reached the apartments two minutes later that heavy smoke and flames were coming out of "a couple of the units."

The flames destroyed a quarter of the building.

"You could see them from Des Moines," said witness Patty Willis. "You could see them they were sky high."

Nelson said the reason all the residents had to leave the complex was because the entire complex lost power.

Nelson said the structural damage included smoke, water and roof damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Nelson said he didn't know if the units had sprinklers. He said it was too early to make a damage estimate, but the apartment complex was valued at $1 million.

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