Plumbing work sparks College Place apartment fire

Officials say two units in an apartment building have been rendered uninhabitable.

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COLLEGE PLACE -- A fire Tuesday morning that damaged an apartment building is being blamed on a plumber's propane torch.

The blaze sparked by pipe work at 731 S. E. Larch Ave. rendered two units uninhabitable.

The blaze began about 10 a.m. between the ceiling of a ground floor apartment in the four-plex and the floor of the apartment above it, according to Fire Marshal John Boose.

Firefighters contained the fire to that area. No one was home at the time and there did not appear to be any pets on the premises, he said.

The Fire Department responded with two fire engines and requested additional aid from the Walla Walla Fire Department. One firefighter suffered complications from exertion in the conditions, Boose said.

Neither home is inhabitable and the Walla Walla office of the American Red Cross is helping the displaced tenants, the fire marshall added. "It looked like a family in one and a single resident in the other."

The property is owned by Gold Hill Investments out of Newcastle, Calif., according to the Walla Walla County Assessor's Office.

The fire is under investigation and a damage estimate was not available this afternoon.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.

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