Skyway apartment fire displaces dozens on Thanksgiving

SKYWAY, Wash. -- Dozens of people were displaced by an overnight apartment fire early Thanksgiving day.

Firefighters responded to the Greentree Apartment Homes, located at 6901 S. 123rd St., just before 2:30 a.m. They arrived to find one unit engulfed in flames and residents helping each other evacuate.

"I just woke up in the middle of the sounds, you know, like screaming," said resident Guram Kekelia. "Just came out, blindly, outside.

Fire crews managed to keep the blaze from spreading to the rest of the building. The torched unit was completely destroyed, fire officials said, and another unit suffered heavy smoke and fire damage. Two other units sustained water damaged, and three others were damaged by smoke.

The residents of all 16 units were affected, however, as the building's water and electricity were shut off as a safety measure.

An estimated 30 to 45 people were displaced by the blaze. The city of Renton has opened the Renton Community Center, and the Red Cross is aiding the victims.

Despite the unexpected circumstances, the residents were counting their blessings.

"I can't do anything but thank God for giving me this moment, for giving me the moment to get out, and try to help everybody and be safe," said one woman. "There's no going back in that building tonight, and hopefully we'll be somewhere safe tonight."

"Two-year-old baby -- she's fine," said Kekelia. "Wife's fine, too. We just, we got lucky."

No one was inside the torched unit, and no one was injured.

It was not known how the fire started; however, investigators do not believe it was suspicious. The King County Sheriff's Office is investigating.