Four Longview families were displaced by two different fires Wednesday evening, according to the Longview Fire Department.
Three of those families were involved in an apartment fire reported at 5:45 p.m. in the 1900 block of Dorothy Street.
Battalion chief Troy Buzalsky said the department “redeployed” fire crews from another potential fire reported in West Longview, and units from as far away as Kalama were also sent to help.
When firefighters arrived to the two-story building, the apartment managers told them the fire was already out. However, crews found the fire still burning within a wall, Buzalsky said.
“Although (the fire) may look ‘out’ to an untrained eye, when we get there were our specialized tools ... we could quickly identify the fire was burning inside the wall,” Buzalsky said.
The fire started after plumbing work “accidentally ignited combustibles inside the wall,” Buzalsky said.
Crews extinguished the fire before it spread to the upstairs units, but there was significant smoke damage to the unit directly above the fire, the news release says.
Apartment management helped two families find alternate lodging for the evening, and the Red Cross assisted the third family.
The second fire occurred around 11 p.m. in the 500 block of 23rd Avenue, Buzalsky said.
“We were just cleaned up from the first fire when we were dispatched to (the second fire),” Buzalsky said.
A fire started by an electrical short was burning in the crawl space of a one-story house. Buzalsky said that’s an unusual place for a fire to start, and it’s a difficult space for it to be put out.
“Fire likes to burn up, so that means everything above the crawl space is at potential risk,” Buzalsky said.
Firefighters put out the fire before it spread to the attic, but crews had to cut holes into the home’s floor so they could fully confine the blaze, according to a news release.
The family was unable to return to the home due to “considerable structural damage under the home and in two of its rooms,” the news release says. The family stayed with neighbors for the evening, Buzalsky said.