EVERETT — Rubi Delgado-Brito tried to stop her tears as her children looked up at her for answers.
The mother of eight sat on a curb Friday afternoon outside her still-smoking south Everett apartment. Family and friends hugged her and held her as they cried.
Delgado-Brito lost everything in the fire, she said, speaking through a translator.
Her home in the Candlewood Apartments along W. Casino Road caught fire about 1:15 p.m.
An iron apparently ignited nearby drapes, and the fire spread from there, Everett Fire Marshal Rick Robinson said. No one was injured in the fire.
Delgado-Brito’s son, Alan Roman, 12, saw flames near the iron. He yelled at others in the apartment to get out. His mother was in another room, caring for her newborn.
“We all ran out,” he said.
The fire heavily damaged at least two other apartments, with lighter damage to several surrounding units, Robinson said.
As the smoke cleared, neighbors gathered in small groups in the parking lot to talk and comfort each other, surrounded by children.
Some people were barefoot or in bathrobes.
Robinson, Everett Fire Inspector Eric Hicks and others went from group to group to share information and check on people.
In the fire’s early chaotic moments, Everett police officers and firefighters who know Spanish helped make sure everyone was accounted for, and people knew where to go, Robinson said.
The flames were extinguished in about 15 minutes, he said.
Everett Fire called a second-alarm because of the size of the building, and how many people lived there, Robinson said. Firefighters poured in from all over Snohomish County.
Crews initially were told that a 9-year-old girl was missing. They swept the building multiple times. The girl was found at a neighbor’s home, Robinson said.
John Lujan, 50, lived in the complex, too.
He works swing shift. He was asleep until a neighbor banged on his window. He looked outside and saw the fire trucks.
“I smelled the smoke while I was getting my shoes on,” he said.
A buzz broke out in the crowd as Everett firefighter Tim Hogan carried out a hutch with a black-and-white rabbit inside.
People clapped as Haiti Lopez, 5, was rushed to the yellow police tape by her grandmother, Gloria Ramirez.
Lopez watched as Hogan set down the cage and her pet rabbit named Kung Fu Panda.
She seemed unsure what to think as she thanked the firefighter. The girl was still worrying about her cat.
“Cats often get out early so keep up the good spirits,” Hogan said, giving the girl a fist-bump, which she returned.
Early estimates were that 10 adults and 20 children were displaced in the fire, Robinson said.
The apartment complex manager was providing them a place to stay. The American Red Cross also was assisting.
Damage was estimated at $375,000.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org
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