by: Henry Rosoff Updated:
EVERETT, Wash. - Police and fire officials are trying to figure out what caused a deadly fire in downtown Everett Sunday morning.
"The alarm started going off and somebody was screaming and pounding on the doors that there was a fire," resident Jessica Allen said.
The flames killed one person at the Hewitt Avenue apartment building.
The identity has not yet been released.
At least three dozen people were displaced from their homes.
"We came out into the hallway and this whole apartment was pretty much on fire," Allen said.
Steve Mortz, who lives at the apartment building, is worried about his friend's girlfriend, who also lives in the building and couldn't be found early Sunday morning.
"Hopefully she wasn't in the apartment but it doesn't look good at this point," he said.
Arson investigators combed the scene, trying to figure out how the fire started.
Police said they're called any time there's a deadly fire.
"At this point in time we don't know if the arson dog has alerted on anything," Officer Aaron Snell with the Everett Police Department said.
The same block had another fatal fire just over a year ago.
A man died inside the McCrossen building, which was owned by the same man who owns the building that burned Sunday. A review of property records shows he owns many properties in Everett.
The cause of that fire was never determined.
Residents said the building that burned Sunday morning was also set to be condemned by the end of the month, but the owner was working with the city to make repairs to keep it open.
"They just put fire doors up right here in these apartments yesterday," Allen said.
"They were installing new fire alarms, new fire lights, from what I understand, and fire doors," Mortz said.
City officials said the building had code violations and was going to be condemned on Dec. 20 if the owner didn't renovate the stairwells.
However, they said the owner was working with the city and it looked like he was going to finish on time.
Anyone with information about the fire is urged to call 911 or the Everett Police Department’s tip line at 425-257-8450.