EVERETT, Wash. - A body seen amid the charred ruins of an Everett apartment building that burned in a 3-alarm fire is presumed to be that of a missing man who lived there.
A man who lived in the apartment where the fire was believed to have started had not been seen since before the fire began on Thursday night, according to other tenants, but the victim has not yet been indentified.
Firefighters from around Snohomish County responded after calls to 911 began coming in at 9:30 p.m. about an apartment fire that quickly spread to the rest of the historic building.
A search of the building in the 1800 block of Hewitt Avenue was not possible in the early stages of the fire because its rapid growth forced firefighters outside.
Flames were visible several feet in the air from the top of the two-story building. The flames roared inside and through the roof, which collapsed right after firefighters fell back into a defensive position.
By 3:20 a.m., fire crews had extinguished the fire but remained at the scene to tend to any hot spots.
Investigators said the body will be difficult to recover from the building's upper level because the floor and walls around it are in danger of collapsing.
The Everett police officers were called to the building twice on Thursday. The reason for the calls are part of an ongoing investigation.
The building's exterior walls may be dismantled by Friday night.
The building contained eight apartments on the second floor and several businesses on the ground level including a law office, a vintage flea market and a tile shop.
Several occupants of the apartments were taken to the Comcast Arena nearby for emergency shelter as crews worked to contain the fire.
Power was cut off to the area of downtown Everett to prevent energized power lines from falling around the fire scene. It has since been restored to the downtown area.
Roads around Comcast Arena will be closed for a few days while the search and cleanup continues over the weekend.