A cigarette is the likely cause of a fire Monday night that left two families without a place to live.
No one was hurt in the blaze that burned two units of a Kennewick fourplex at 1121 N. Cleveland St., near Canal Drive and Edison Street.
The fire, which was reported about 7 p.m., appeared to have been started by a cigarette on a balcony of one of the upper apartments, said Kennewick fire Capt. Nathan Rabe.
The fire started outside the building and crawled into part of the attic, Acting Battalion Chief Tom Reich said.
Firefighters had the Benton Public Utility District cut power to the units, Reich said. Most of the damage came when firefighters pulled down part of the ceiling to get into the attic.
One family was helped Monday night by the Red Cross, while the other stayed with relatives. Both families planned to stay in hotel rooms provided by the Red Cross on Tuesday night, said Cody Campbell, disaster program manager for the Benton-Franklin Red Cross.
The Red Cross pays for three nights in a hotel for a family, as well as providing help with clothes, bedding and groceries, he said. The agency also can help them get medication.
Rabe estimated the damage caused by the fire at about $30,000.
“It’s repairable damage,” he said.
The two first-floor apartments in the building appear to still be livable, Rabe said.
Kennewick fire crews were helped by firefighters from Benton Fire District 1 and Richland.