Joe Quigley and Cindylee Jakubiak were eating breakfast Saturday morning when they heard a loud pounding, a banging. It was someone hitting a wall or door.
Quigley couldn’t tell what it was about at first. But then, “I heard the word, ‘fire,’ ” he said.
And he knew it was serious.
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It was a neighbor at Tanglewood Apartments off North Arthur Street in Kennewick, warning of a blaze ripping through the building.
Quigley and Jakubiak grabbed their 5-year-old son and rushed out the door. By the time they reached the bottom of the stairs, “I could feel the heat,” Quigley said.
The fire started a little before 8 a.m. in the apartment complex’s “D” building.
Firefighters from around the Tri-Cities rushed to the scene and found “heavy fire in the attic, involving (several apartment) units,” said Mikal Barnett, battalion chief with the Kennewick Fire Department.
Residents quickly were evacuated as crews battled the blaze, he said.
One resident was taken to Trios Southridge Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No one else was hurt.
The D building has 24 apartment units total. Four of them were burned in the blaze, with another four or five sustaining water damage.
All of the building’s residents are displaced for now, “until we can get the building in a safe condition. There are some collapse issues with the roof,” said Tod Kreutz, another Kennewick Fire battalion chief.
I threw some clothes on (my son). I forgot his shoes. I threw some clothes on me. I’m in my slippers. You (just had to) go.
The Red Cross was on hand and planned to set up an emergency shelter if needed.
As of mid-morning Saturday, authorities hadn’t yet determined the cause of the blaze or its exact origin, although some neighbors thought it started in a third-floor bedroom.
Jakubiak was shaken by the experience. It was scary, she said, as she watched crews work on clean up.
She and Quigley and their son, Dominic, were having a good morning — tucking into homemade breakfast burritos, enjoying the start of the day. Then the pounding came.
“I threw some clothes on (my son). I forgot his shoes. I threw some clothes on me. I’m in my slippers. You (just had to) go,” she said.
Quigley, who works out of town during the week, stays at Tanglewood sometimes on weekends but also has another place in Kennewick. Jakubiak and Dominic will stay with him or friends in the fire’s aftermath.
Jakubiak and Quigley said they were grateful to make it out safely.
“It’s tragic for my son to see, but unfortunately it’s life,” Quigley said. “And accidents do happen.”
Photographer Noelle Haro-Gomez contributed to this story.