3-alarm brush fire forced evacuations at Renton apartment complex, several homes

RENTON, Wash. — A three-alarm brush fire in Renton forced the evacuation of residents at an apartment complex and several homes on Sunday.

Firefighters and police were called to the 3000 block of Southeast Royal Hills Drive.

Upon arrival, fire crews immediately called for a second alarm as winds began to pick up, driving the flames towards residential areas.

Officials said the fire threatened several homes and the Royal Hills apartment complex, so the apartment complex was evacuated.

“We were really nervous when we were on our way [home], we were afraid that probably it would be in our house and it was really like, a dangerous issue,” said Basharatullah Sheenwary, a tenant at the Royal Hills Apartment complex.

Shortly thereafter, fire officials called for a third alarm.

Several agencies aided in relief efforts, including Port of Seattle, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority and Mountain View Fire and Rescue.

“This is a group effort,” said Eric Autry, a spokesperson with South King County Zone 3.

High-tension power lines hampered large water operations, officials said.

“It’s resource intensive initially just you want to protect these structures, you don’t want it getting into buildings so you’ve got to call a lot of resources right away, stop the fire in its tracks and then move on from there,” Autry explained.

At around 7:02 p.m., officials tweeted that the fire was under control, and they were in the “mop up phase,” which is expected to last for multiple hours.

Firefighters said every year, the area is prone to serious brush fires.

“The best advice I can give is be careful outside, particularly with fire, you know it’s tinder dry, and these things can get going and get moving really quick and we want to avoid that,” said Autry.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.