By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

News: Fire destroys students’ apartment

BY JOHN JORDAN, Staff Reporter


Last Wednesday, a fire broke out in two Central students’ off-campus apartment at about 5 p.m.

The start of the fire is still a question that authorities are asking themselves. There is a possibility that one of the residents may have left a candle burning in the apartment.

The residents, Ashley Saracino and Lindsey Licht, are currently staying with some friends, according to Danielle Brandli, who has started an account on the site GoFundMe to raise money to help replace their possessions.

Kittitas County Fire Chief John Sinclair said that some of the smoke detectors in that building were not on or had malfunctioned.

According to Sinclair, firefighters arrived on the scene shooting a hose line into the bedroom to convert the water into steam and put out the fire. “It was a significant fire involved in the room of origination,” Sinclair explained. Brandli confirmed that the fire started in Saracino’s bedroom, but all the rooms in the apartment were effected.

“The fire started in Ashley’s room, so pretty much all her stuff is toast,” Brandli said.he downstairs of the apartment, although less directly touched by the fire, had serious water damage from the fire hoses, Brandli said, meaning that most of the possessions from that area were also unable to be recovered.

Sinclair said the fire department urges all residents to routinely check their smoke detectors.

“If your smoke detector isn’t working then you should first contact the property management; if you don’t find satisfaction there, then please contact us,” Sinclair said. “We will ensure that you get a smoke detector.”

The management of the building had no comment on the incident. “A firefighter on the scene asked the two residents about the possible causes of the fire,” Sinclair said. “We found out that one of the residents may have left some candles in the window sill, which could be knocked over because her dog likes to get up on the window sill and watch her leave, knocking the candles down.”

According to Brandli, Saracino was only able to recover one laundry basket of clothes from her room, and Licht also had serious damage to her possessions.

“Lindsey’s room was covered with smoke and ash … so most of her belongings are going to have to be replaced as well,” Brandli said.

According to Brandli, there has been a lot of enthusiasm to help the residents replace their possessions. Over $1,000 has been raised so far.

“It’s pretty great to see all the support that people have given them,” Brandli said.

Kaylee Regier, another resident in the apartment complex, said the response was quick, but the fire was coming out of the apartment windows before it was contained.

“They put it out pretty quick, but it started up again along the gutters,” Regier said. “It was pretty scary.”

According to Regier, the residents in other nearby buildings were not evacuated, but most residents left their apartments to watch the fire.

Authorities have ruled out the possibility of an electrical problem. An investigator was called in after the fire was extinguished, which allowed the investigator to see if it was caused by a candle or electrical issues.

One of the residents explained that she had a surge protector (a device that allows multiple plug ins), which could have been a cause.

Officials agree that the cause of the fire is still unknown, but they do believe that candles are the best plausible reason.

Sinclair strongly recommends these things to people in order to prevent tragedies like this.

“We had a triple fatality fire here a couple of years ago, where the smoke detector had been disabled by the people living there, and there was no battery in the smoke detector,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair urges all to be checking their smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis for safety.

More to Discover