Fire burns Pasco apartment, resident says her burning candle started it

July 20, 2013 

— A woman who fell asleep with a lit candle in her room said she accidentally started the fire that burned a six-story apartment complex, displacing several people Saturday night in Pasco.

Pamela Jarrell, who lives at the Sacajawea Apartments at 507 N. Fourth St., said about 9 p.m. she fell asleep with a candle "burning next to the bed and I thought it was fine. It was on the desk and I put a few incense inside that were burning, a few tiny ones, and I fell asleep."

She said she's not sure what happened next but said, "I woke up and it was all aflame, from the floor to the wall in the corner and I just started yelling, 'Fire!'"

She said she grabbed her cat Gracie and ran out. She helped others and said she "prayed everybody would be OK."

She said the fire department took too long to arrive -- about 20 minutes. She said she watched the fire spread from the second and third floor before they arrived. Several other residents also complained about firefighters' response time.

Pasco Fire Department Battalion Chief Don Donais said he "could guarantee" that it didn't take firefighters 20 minutes to arrive. He said typical response time is 5 to 6 minutes.

"My biggest concern is that everyone is alright," said Jarrell.

A couple of people who live there may have been taken to the hospital, according to the apartment manager, Billie Vinson and Donias.

The American Red Cross is helping those who need a place to stay.

The 65-unit Sacajawea Apartments are across from Lourdes Medical Center.

Firefighters from Pasco, Benton Fire District 1, Kennewick, Franklin Fire District 3 responded.

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