This story was updated Sunday evening. Find the new version here.
EVERETT – One person died Sunday morning in a two-alarm fire at a historic building downtown.
The 6:40 a.m. blaze was quickly knocked down at The Hodges, 1800 Hewitt Ave.
The 1923-vintage building houses businesses on the ground floor and apartments above.
Dozens of residents were displaced. Many clutched handfuls of belongings. A couple of guitars were slung over one person’s shoulder. A shirtless man with an unzipped jacket and dressed only in boxer shorts coughed on the sidewalk while fire crews searched the building.
The victim’s body was found after the flames were extinguished, Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell said. The person’s identification was pending an autopsy by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner.
Detectives were summoned to look for signs of arson.
Jessica Allen and David Nash sat on a bench along Hewitt holding Tinker, a shivering miniature mixed-breed dog.
Allen was in the bathroom of her fourth floor apartment when she heard the fire alarm. The building had a false alarm in the past week, so she initially wasn’t too concerned.
Then there was pounding on the door and someone yelling “Fire!”
She and Nash grabbed the dog and went into the hallway to get out.
The pair said they did not realize how bad the fire was until they reached the street and saw flames pouring from a fourth-floor corner apartment.
Steve Mortz helped get people out. He owns the nearby Vertigo Rising store and was packing his truck to head to the Fremont flea market Sunday morning. Then he heard breaking glass falling onto the sidewalk near where he stood.
Initially he did not realize there was a fire. He woke a friend, called 911, and then he went up into the building, knocking on doors, telling people to flee.
Aside from the fatality, no other injuries were reported, Snell said. The American Red Cross was assisting at least 36 displaced people.