A teary-eyed Patrick Reed sprinted down West Kennewick Avenue and into the arms of his mother as firefighters extinguished a blaze Tuesday afternoon at her apartment building.
Reed and Donna Robinson embraced and cried in each others’ arms while the wind pushed thin plumes of black smoke in their direction.
“I came home and my house was full of smoke,” said Robinson, who lives at the 14-unit apartment complex at 411 West Kennewick Avenue with her grandsons.
The fire started about 3:30 p.m. and scorched at least three apartments at the complex, causing fire and water damage inside, said Brian Ellis of the Kennewick Fire Department. No injuries were reported, though a dog was reported missing.
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Kennewick firefighter Mark Cook did rescue a dog and return it to its owner.
Fire crews from across the Tri-Cities helped get the two-alarm blaze under control within 20 to 30 minutes, Ellis said. It’s unclear exactly where or how the fire started.
Fire investigators are looking into the cause. The Benton-Franklin chapter of the American Red Cross is helping displaced residents.
CJ Wolfe, who lives at the complex with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend, was home when he noticed black smoke seeping through his front door, he said. He didn’t even have time to grab his shoes before fleeing.
“It was completely black,” he said just yards away from his burned apartment. “I just put my shirt over my face and ran down the stairs.”
Neighbors and bystanders crowded around the complex as crews put out flames. Fire trucks and police cars blocked off a portion of West Kennewick Avenue. Thick black smoke could be spotted from Highway 395.
A bus full of school children from Edison Elementary School was scheduled to be dropped off near the apartment complex when the fire broke out, Ellis said. Officials had the children wait at the school until the fire was out before reuniting them with their parents.
Crews from Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, Benton Fire District 1 and Franklin Fire District 3 responded to to the fire.