Lynnwood fire victims may be allowed to salvage belongings

LYNNWOOD — Those who lost their homes in the Lynnwood apartment fire Monday may get a chance to salvage some of their belongings.

But it will take awhile.

An engineer has declared the fire-damaged Lynnview Apartments building structurally unsound, Lynnwood Fire Marshal LeRoy McNulty said Wednesday afternoon.

The building owner, Everett-based Williams Investments, is planning to hire a contractor to make the building safe for salvaging efforts, McNulty said. He recommended displaced tenants call the company at 425-355-0353 to find out more.

For people to return, a contractor will have to remove heavy debris and, most likely, either remove the roof or use timbers to temporarily bolster it. It’s unclear how long everything will take, McNulty said. The contractor will have to work around surrounding power lines and a parking lot full of cars and fire debris.

“It’s going to really be very difficult,” he said.

Fire investigators Wednesday were still interviewing witnesses and neighbors about how and where the fire started. They believe it was a cooking fire, but that’s not know definitely. The timeline of events also is shaky.

Investigators have yet to speak with the people who were living in the apartment where the fire started.

Some neighbors also have been reluctant and secretive with officials, perhaps because they don’t want to say how many people were living with them at the time of the fire, McNulty said.

An initial $3 million damage estimate only covered the cost of the building — not the possessions within, he said. Typical apartment units run about $10,000 each in damage after a fire, mostly due to furniture costs. Lynnview had 37 occupied apartments and two vacant ones.

Few people living at Lynnview had renter’s insurance, McNulty said.

Meanwhile, people from Lynnwood and surrounding areas are looking for ways to help those displaced.

Officials want to remind donors that the Red Cross can only accept cash donations. The Trinity Lutheran Church, where some of the families are taking refuge, is out of storage space as well, said Connie Lewis, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County chapter of the American Red Cross.

Local businesses are working with officials to find alternate storage spaces for donations such as blankets and clothing, McNulty said. They’ll have to figure out who will distribute the items and how to match donations to victims’ needs.

One 9-year-old girl has started a clothing and toy drive for the victims.

Chloe Broussard told her mother she wanted to donate some of her belongings to the families and started convincing her brothers to give up their toys.

The drive is being promoted on a Facebook page..

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