by: Monique Ming Laven Updated:
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - They're the two cats that somehow emerged from the three-alarm fire and ashes that overtook an entire apartment building in Bellingham.
Fire trucks came screaming into the complex on Woodstock Way at about 1:15 p.m. Monday afternoon. Fire investigators later determined that the building met fire code, with the necessary fire alarms and sprinklers. However, none of them were in the attic. That is where the fire took hold and ran the length of the building.
Residents in nearby buildings took pictures and video with their cell phones while hoping the winds wouldn't whip the flames over to their homes. One woman told KIRO 7 the firefighters did an amazing job keeping the flames to just one building. "They thought it was going to jump over to our complex because the flames were shooting out and the wind was blowing," she said.
Nearby, you could hear one young man cooing into a cage, "You OK Peaches?" Inside was his drenched orange cat-- very scared and cranky, but uninjured. She had been doused with water.
And neighbor Kiki, a grey and white cat, somehow seemed unaffected after coming out from under a bed hours after the flames were out. Her owner, Tony Zapien, had assumed she was gone and was trying to concentrate on how fortunate he was that his girlfriend and 20-month-old son escaped unharmed. No one was injured, but it's unclear if other pets are missing.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire. At this point they only know that it started on the balcony of one unit.
The Red Cross came to assist families who had nowhere to go. Four units were destroyed, eight others had extensive water and smoke damage.