Tenants forced out of apartment complex by fire return to find units ransacked

by: David Solano Updated:

SEATTLE - Tenants forced out of their home by a Capitol Hill fire last week told KIRO 7 why their troubles are far from over.

Many whose apartments suffered only smoke damage returned to find their home ransacked.

And now they’re afraid something worse is yet to come.

The renters reached out to KIRO 7 upset that more wasn’t done to protect their property. They said computers, credit cards and other personal items disappeared from their homes.    

They've complained to management about how everything has been handled.           

On Friday, Aug. 4, neighbors shot cell phone video as their apartment building burned.  KIRO 7 was there as a few people went inside to grab their pets and a few belongings. Others thought they were lucky their apartments weren't damaged until they returned.

"We heard Monday morning about the break-in," Clarita Hinojosa, a concerned tenant, said.          

The Seattle Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire, but this group is more concerned about the crime following the fire.

"My computer was stolen,” Liz O’Neal, who moved from Virginia to Seattle, said. “[My] credit cards were stolen."

"It's [a] very violating feeling knowing that someone else went through all of your intimates,” said Meagan Dodge, a Dallas native, who attends graduate school at Seattle University.              

Dodge said her MacBook, iPad, Samsung tablet, class ring and many other items were stolen. She's also disappointed in the way the property management company has treated them.                 

"Everyday something changes,” said Dodge. “We were told we had to be out by [August] 20th, and then two days later we get an e-mail saying, ‘who wants to stay? The first floor might be ready in a week or so.’"

Tenants say they found out about the burglary after they were getting calls from banks about fraudulent charges on their credit cards.

"The added hassle of identity theft is part of the mix," said O’Neal.

"[It’s] extremely frustrating. All I want to do is just get in [and] get my stuff and get out of this,” said Dodge.


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