Kennewick apartment fire spread due to mix of high-speed winds, electric recliner malfunction

apartment fire in kennewick
Image courtesy of Kennewick Fire Department Fire Chief Chad Michael.

UPDATE at 5:30 p.m. on March 21: An investigation into a fire that spread across two Kennewick apartments on the 4100-block of W Albany Ave has been completed, revealing an unexpected source of the flames.

Kennewick fire officials found that the fire on March 13 was sparked by the power supply for an electric recliner on the bottom-floor unit. High-speed winds over 20 MPH pushed air through the opened sliding glass door of one of the apartments, causing the fire to quickly spread.

The door was left open when occupants of the apartment evacuated to escape the flames. KFD officials want to remind the community to close doors after escaping a fire to minimize damage.

The following breaking news story has been left unaltered from its original publishing.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Kennewick Fire Department (KFD) says two apartment buildings went up in flames early Sunday morning.

The initial call for the fire came in at 3:39 a.m. on Sunday, March 13th. KFD along with crews from Richland Fire and Emergency Services, Pasco Fire Department, and Benton County Fire District #1 responded to the call.

KFD was on scene less than six minutes after the initial call, and found a fourplex engulfed in flames.

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Officials say winds topping at 20 miles per hour before crews arrived caused the fire to spread to another fourplex nearby. The first crew on scene then worked on preventing the flames from spreading to other buildings.

Once back up arrived, firefighters worked to extinguish flames at the original building.

The first building was occupied at the time of the fire. According to KFD, the second building was vacant.

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Kennewick Police Department was also on scene and assisted with evacuations of the occupied building prior to KFD’s arrival. KFD did not report any injuries from the fire, and it is currently unknown how many occupants were displaced.

According to KFD, the American Red Cross and the Fire Chaplain are working with the displaced occupants to find temporary housing.

Officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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