Bellevue police say this morning’s apartment fire that injured seven people and displaced several others is suspicious and being investigated as a possible crime.
Police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate said a criminal investigation was launched because there is “apparently something suspicious” about the fire. Iafrate said she didn’t have any other details on what prompted the investigation.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting with the investigation.
The fire was reported about 6:15 a.m. at the Hampton Greens apartments in the 4500 block of 148th Avenue Northeast. Witnesses and employees at the PRO Sports Club, which shares a driveway with the apartment complex, said they heard a loud boom coming from the apartments just after 6 a.m. That noise is believed to be associated with the fire.
In total, 10 apartment units were destroyed in the blaze, Iafrate said. Officials with the American Red Cross are helping those who have been displaced. Police didn’t have an immediate number.
Cassie Howard, 23, who lives at Hampton Greens, said she had left her apartment and walked to work at the PRO Sports Club when she heard a loud noise that she said sounded like someone dropping 600 pounds of weights. Someone then alerted her that her apartment complex was on fire.
Howard’s apartment was one of 10 destroyed in the fire. She fears she may have lost her cat.
Two people were sent to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to be treated for injuries suffered in the fire. One man is in serious condition and the other is listed as satisfactory, according to hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.
Among those injured was a Bellevue firefighter who suffered minor injuries, Iafrate said.
Witnesses told Seattle Times news partner KING-TV that they saw a woman jump from a balcony. However, police have not been able to confirm that report.
Fire crews from Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond fought the blaze.