RENTON, Wash. — Community members are coming together to help people who were displaced after a fire destroyed a dozen units at Fairwood Apartments in Renton.
“This is the time to rise up and help the community,” said Karen Rafchiek, owner of 4 Corner Merchants.
Just hours after the fire Wednesday night, nearby local business owners rallied together to help those displaced.
Sweet Jules Kitchen offered those impacted by the fire a free meal Thursday night and 4 Corner Merchants and US Nails in Renton collected donations.
“We just hope and pray the community will all come together at this time because the need is really huge. We just spoke to a family affected and she doesn’t know where to go tonight,” said Rafchiek.
KING 5 learned more details about where the fire started.
“We saw a fully blazed vehicle that was quickly spread into vehicles next to it, and also extending up into the carport, which then ultimately led into the building catching fire,” said Sara Ferguson, Public Educator and Information officer with Renton Fire Department.
The fire left 12 apartments and several cars scorched in its wake. KING 5 learned the building didn’t have sprinklers.
“If there is a unit that has a fire in it, (sprinklers) can self-contain to that unit and really help slow down the spread of the fire,” said Ferguson.
Sprinklers helping to slow the spread was evident in another apartment fire in Renton this week that contained the flames to one unit.
King County land records show Fairwood Landing Apartments were built in 1981, at that time sprinklers weren’t required like they are today.
“You'll see a lot of the newer apartment buildings, they do have that fire safety technology in them now. We're seeing that they are very beneficial to saving property and saving lives,” said Ferguson.
The complex is now owned by Sack Properties whose corporate offices are in California. King 5 spoke with a regional property manager and asked if there are plans to install sprinklers. The manager said the priority is the resident’s safety and had no further comment.
“It’s not just losing stuff, it's emotional and they just don’t know what to do right now,” said Karen Rafchiek.
If you’d like to help, you can drop off donations at US Nails or 4 Corner Merchants in Renton.