Two or three households are displaced after a support beam in an apartment building on North Rock Street caught fire Friday morning.
Firefighters with the Riverside Fire Authority and the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority responded to the residence just before 10 a.m.
One of the building’s ground floor residents, Stephanie Lane, said she repeatedly tried to contact the property’s manager, T.J. Guyer Management, earlier Friday morning when power in part of her unit went out, to no avail.
She said it wasn’t long after her seventh attempt to call the maintenance team that she heard fire alarms start sounding.
A beam in the ceiling of Lane’s living room had caught fire.
Lane called the fire department and went to the two other occupied units at the Rock Street residence to alert her neighbors of the situation. When she got to the upstairs unit immediately above her own, she found smoke coming out from the locked door.
Fire crews ultimately had to break down the door to that unit, which was unoccupied at the time.
Crews ended up tearing out most of that unit’s floor, which was Lane’s ceiling, to access the burning beam.
Due to that structural damage, the buildings’ residents are not allowed to stay in their units. Fire personnel contacted the Red Cross to aid the displaced residents.
T.J. Guyer had not given residents a timeline for repairing structural damage to the building, according to Lane, who said the representative she got in contact with late Friday morning told her they’d loan her a humidifier and would repair the door to the upstairs unit.
Fire investigators had not formally determined the cause of the fire as of Friday morning, but residents believe the fire started due to faulty repair work crews had done on the residence’s water heater.
A T.J. Guyer representative could not be reached for comment on Friday.