2 Dead in Apartment Fire

Fire at 2900 block in Vancouver, WA

By Danielle Champíet

Gun shots were heard just past midnight on June 25th, 2022. A consensus amongst the apartment residents and neighbors was about 7-8 shots and then the fire started.

Fire raging from my neighbor’s apartment

A man from the apartments next door called the fire department and rushed over to notify the residents of that complex. I live in one of the units of the fire.

I had heard the gun shots but thought they were from a nearby store parking lot. The area is and has been a nice place to live but as drug addiction has risen, so have the unsavory elements that go with it. My apartment comlex has been a safe and quiet one for many years. The neighbors know each other and talk often. I have lived here since August of 1997 and have seen it go through many changes. Gun fire has never been one of those until now.

I heard the sirens from the fire trucks and went to my balcony to see where they were going. That’s when I saw the flames. I threw on some clothes, I had just dressed for bed, and took the gates off of my front door. I saw a police officer aproaching my stairs. She said I had to leave. I told her just a minute and closed my door. I went to my spare room and got the cat carrier. I have two kitties; Castiel and Bagheera. Another officer joined us and the three of us tried to put them in the carrier but the cats were too scared and couldn’t be caught. I had to leave them on my balcony and hope the fire would be put out in time.

From outiside my parking lot, I watched in horror as the safe neighborhood I’ve known for years went up in flames. Hoping they would get the fire put out in time. Hoping my babies would be safe.

The fire seemed to take a long time to put out. It would look like it was out, there would be tons of smoke, and then more flames. After the third burst of flames, the fire was put out. A massive cloud of black smoke rose from the building. Neighbors came from nearby apartments and houses to see what was happening and to check on us.

Police tape off the parking lot as it is officially declared a crime scene

When the crime scene tape came out, we knew that someone had died. Two men lived in that apartment. It is still not known what happened, why the gun shots and what started the fire.

Fire investigators examine the point of origin

After being outside for a long time and very cold, I asked one of the officers if I could wait inside of my car. They got it approved for me to return to my apartment. It was just past 3:30am.

The whole place smelled like the inside of a fireplace or a campfire. I immediately went to my balcony to check in Cas and Bagheera. My heart sank with relief, they were still there and ok. Still a little scared but unharmed.

The 4 unit building was home to 3 families. One unit was unoccupied. My neighbors in the two ground floor apartments were unharmed but it is not known how badly damaged their homes are from the fire, water and smoke. Even if the flames did not touch their apartments, the pathogens from the water and smoke are just as fatal if not properly cleaned up. There was massive amounts of smoke in the air, so I’m having to monitor myself for illness from smoke inhalation. Even standing outside of a burning building is not safe.

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