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3 homes burn in 2-alarm fire in Lakewood


Multiple houses caught fire early Friday morning in the Tillicum neighborhood of Lakewood.{ } (Photo: KOMO News){ }
Multiple houses caught fire early Friday morning in the Tillicum neighborhood of Lakewood. (Photo: KOMO News)
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LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Three houses caught fire early Friday morning in the Tillicum neighborhood in Lakewood, but everyone escaped safely.

Just before 1 a.m., fire crews were called the the 2-alarm blaze in the 14400 block of Union Ave. SW. They arrived to find three homes burning and flames visible even from I-5.

Investigators believe the fire originated in a vacant home in the middle of the three, and the flames then spread to the other homes on either side, fire officials said.

The fire's spread was aided by a large amount of debris that had been left outside the vacant home.

Gene Tetteh had spent the last 18 months building his new home next door and had just moved in on May 10. He says he and others who live on this street have been very frustrated with the mess, the homeowner and the renters. He says were evicted a few weeks ago.

"There was junk in the yard constantly they were living outside, inside, outside, inside," Tetteh said. "It was a mess - it was so upsetting about three weeks ago I wrote the owner a letter to try to take care of it and this is what happened."

Tetteh says the damaged home on the other side had a family of five living in it, including three children between the ages of 3 and 9.

They escaped the flames after someone knocked on their door to wake them up. The Red Cross is finding temporary shelter for the family.

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The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is being investigated as a suspicious fire.

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