Friday, July 9, 2010

Buddhist Temple On Fire

A three-alarm fire early Thursday (July 8) seriously damaged a century-old building in Seattle's International District that housed a Buddhist temple on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors.

Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick says two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries - smoke inhalation and back pain. Firefighters rescued one woman from the second floor of the building at 1007 S. Weller Street. She was not injured.

Fitzpatrick says when firefighters arrived flames were coming from the first floor and spreading to the upper floors. Fire crews said they faced several challenges in addition to the large size of the fire. There was a language barrier with many of the apartment residents, and the overnight heat played a role as well. Due to the high temperatures, firefighters were cycled through regularly and took extra efforts to remain hydrated

Investigators have determined that the blaze was started by candles or incense. One resident pointed out candles are usually burning overnight in the first floor temple

The Red Cross is helping about 18 of the displaced residents.

About 120 firefighters were brought in to help battle the fire.