'Everyone's lost everything': 3-alarm fire burns historic Auburn building

Photo: KOMO News

AUBURN, Wash. -- Crews fought a 3-alarm fire in a historic building here on Main Street through the afternoon and into the night.

After 8:30 p.m., the fire was mostly out, but flare ups continued.

Crews will likely be at the fire into Wednesday morning to watch for hot spots.

There were no serious injuries, and everyone who lived there got out. So did the business owners who lived below the apartments.

Still, the fire has left dozens of people without a place to live. Many of the 39 who lived there lost nearly everything in the fire.

Steve Horton was left with only his bathrobe. "Right now, it's like where am I going to stay," he said.

"The place is burning," said another resident, Leo Bailey. "I've lost everything. Everyone's lost everything."

The Red Cross is trying to find housing for those affected by the fire.It set up an emergency shelter at Cascade Middle School, 1015 24th St. N.E., in Auburn. At least a dozen people are expected to stay there.

In the afternoon and early evening, flames were shooting out of the Heritage Building, and the fire was sending plumes of smoke in the air. Several different departments sent crews to the blaze, which began before 3 p.m.

The fire was at 134 E. Main St. There were businesses, a tavern and a restaurant in the bottom floor of the building. The top floor had more than 35 apartments for low-income people. The building apparently does not have sprinklers.

One person did have to be treated on the scene for smoke inhalation but was not taken to a hospital. Another person could not walk and had to be rescued. That person was not injured.

The fire is a blow to Auburn to revitalize its downtown, said Mayor Nancy Backus.

"It's a sad time for our downtown -- a historic business," she said.

Congressman Dave Reichert expressed his dismay at the loss of the building.

A definite cause of the fire has not been found, but the fire was first reported as coming from a clothes dryer in a second-floor laundry room.

Resident Jason Kelm said he saw flames coming from around the dryer.

"It looked like small little flames from the side of the wall," he said.

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