All of the people in the building escaped unhurt, though two cats died, assistant fire marshal Eric Hicks said.
Firefighters were dispatched to the Beverly Village Apartments at 801 75th St., shortly after 2 a.m. They received reports of people trapped inside, Hicks said.
A woman sleeping there had awakened after smoke filled her apartment, he said. She roused her two children, escaped with them and started alerting her neighbors.
Richie Mathis, 35, said he was outside another building in the complex smoking a cigarette when he noticed the flames. Mathis grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran over to help, then started pounding on doors when he realized how serious things were. He wanted to make sure everyone got out safe.
“I could hear kids crying,” Mathis said. “I could hear the fire popping.”
When firefighters arrived, flames were coming from a first-floor window, Hicks said. As they tried to extinguish the blaze, it spread to the building's second and third floors, as well as the attic. By the time the fire was out, 12 apartments had suffered damage: three from the fire itself, the rest from smoke and water.
The Snohomish County chapter of the American Red Cross was assisting the displaced families.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, Hicks said. The apartment building was damaged beyond repair.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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