Pets, people escape West Seattle apartment fire

Updated:

SEATTLE —

Nearly three dozen people had to scoop up their pets and run after an early fire drove them from their apartments.

 Some had to run out through thick, choking smoke.

"(It was) a little scary.  It was hard to breathe coming down that landing and holding a cat that was a little bit upset, thinking that there was a fire,” said Kim Drescher, who lives on the fourth floor.

Firefighters said a faulty electrical circuit in a kitchen range at the Barton Court Apartments caused the fire around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

Crews managed to contain the damage to the first-floor apartment where it started, but heavy smoke spread around the building, which is near the corner of 35th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Barton Street.

The Seattle Fire Department requested a Metro bus to shelter the 32 people who evacuated, but it took a while for it to arrive.

 The apartment building is directly across the street from the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library where a librarian let them in until the bus finally arrived.

When the fire was out, firefighters allowed most of the residents back in, but they had concerns about the lingering smoke and electrical damage on the first and second floors.

The Red Cross is helping three people find temporary shelter.