Man killed in Arbutus apartment fire


A fire early yesterday that consumed an Arbutus apartment house killed one man and left several people homeless.

Firefighters responding to the blaze at 1332 Stevens Ave. at 3 a.m. found the second story of the house engulfed in flames and two men stranded on the roof.

The men, who lived on the second floor, escaped using ladders, and a third man was pulled to safety through the window of his first-floor apartment.

Two other tenants escaped on their own.

The victim, whose identity was being withheld pending notification of relatives, was found dead in the second-floor unit where the blaze apparently began. Neighbors said the victim was a man in his early 20s who had lived in the building only a couple months.

The two-alarm fire caused an estimated $80,000 damage to the building and another $15,000 to contents, fire officials said.

Investigators said the fire apparently began from a discarded cigarette.

4 The blaze was brought under control at 3:45 a.m.

Cindy Jones, who lived in a first-floor apartment in the building, said she was awakened by a man banging on her door. When she answered, she found a neighbor standing with his caged cockatoo.

"All I could see was orange light," Ms. Jones said. "The whole top of the roof was on fire."

She rushed out of the house into the rain in her night clothes, leaving behind a malamute dog and a cat. The animals later were rescued by firefighters.

"Somebody was looking out for me," Ms. Jones said.

The tenant who alerted her to the fire told neighbors that he had been awakened by his smoke alarm and escaped only with a few clothes and his bird.

The man tried to awaken the other tenant downstairs, but could not.

"It was a very intense fire," said Bill Walsh, who lives across the street.

Mr. Walsh also praised firefighters for containing the fire, which threatened a neighboring house.

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