Kennewick fire displaces four families

By Josh Peterson

August 27th, 2012

Four families staying at a domestic violence transitional housing unit in Kennewick are out of a home tonight after a fire rips through a four-plex early this morning.

Fire crews say officially, the cause of the fire is undetermined.

But after investigating the scene all day today, they believe the fire was started by a cigarette.

The fire broke out just after 2 AM at a four-plex on West 1st Avenue.

The building is used as a transitional housing unit for people recovering from domestic violence.

A total of five adults and seven children live there.

The flames destroyed two apartments.

The other two apartments were not damaged, but they smell like smoke – so the residents living in those homes have moved out until the inside can be cleaned out.

Fire crews believe a resident was smoking a cigarette outside the complex on the first floor.

But the cigarette was never fully put out when the resident went back inside.

Employees from the Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties say this fire is a big blow to the families, especially with school starting tomorrow.

“This four-plex was used to house families who have either fled domestic violence and were homeless, or families that were low income and previously homeless, had a lot of other issues, such as substance abuse. So these are some of the most vulnerable families in our community, and they’ve already experience so much trauma and uncertainty in their lives. And now to have this happen is just absolutely devastating” said Kelly Abken, Development Director of Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties.

Firefighters believe the flames caused $230,000 in damage to the four-plex.

Nobody was injured in the fire.

Abken expects it to take six to eight months for crews to rebuild the four-plex.

Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties is asking for community support to help the four families.

For information on how you can help, you can call Domestic Violence Services at (509) 735-1295.

Source: kvewtv