By Rikki King and Noah Haglund Herald Writers
MILL CREEK — Sara Jordan, 31, grabbed what seemed important: her daughter’s favorite blanket and Beans, the family cat.
She didn’t have time to think. She heard fire alarms and saw black smoke billowing outside.
Jordan and many of her neighbors were displaced Monday morning after a three-alarm fire at the Millwood Estate Apartments complex on Sixth Avenue W., west of Mill Creek.
About 15 people will have to find another place to live, as their units are no longer habitable, officials said.
“It was crazy,” Jordan said. “It was really, really chaotic here for a little while.”
The fire was reported about 9:30 a.m., said Leslie Hynes, spokeswoman for Snohomish County Fire District 1.
Crews arrived to find flames shooting from the top floor. About 70 firefighters from Fire District 1, Fire District 7, Lynnwood and Everett got the blaze under control within about 20 minutes.
Firefighters also escorted several people who needed help getting out of the building, Hynes said.
One firefighter suffered minor injures and was treated at the scene, Hynes said. No other injuries were reported.
The fire started when flames extended out of a fireplace and ignited combustibles nearby, Hynes said. The damage was estimated at more than $700,000.
At least three apartments on the third floor were heavily damaged by flames. Smoke and water damaged at least six other apartments.
People who lived in less-damaged parts of the building should be able to return sometime Tuesday, Hynes said. The American Red Cross planned to open a shelter for those who needed a place to stay overnight.
Jordan remained hopeful Monday afternoon that her apartment would be fine. She’s expecting to give birth next month and she couldn’t help but think about all the baby stuff inside her home.
Her neighbors weren’t sure how to react to the fire, she said. Many seemed to be in shock.
Jordan arrived home only a short while before the fire started. She didn’t smell smoke. She planned to take a nap.
“It must have happened and became engulfed so quickly,” she said. “It was really only a matter of a few minutes.”
Photographer Mark Mulligan contributed to this report.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.