Fire in Historic Pasco Building Threatens City Block - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire in Historic Pasco Building Threatens City Block

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PASCO, Wash.-- A huge fire overnight at the old Liberty Theater building in downtown Pasco destroyed the building, threatened other buildings on 4th Avenue and even displaced some nearby residents.

The fire started just before midnight Tuesday. Firefighters say flames shot as high as 50 to 75 feet in the air.

There were concerns that the building might collapse and officials evacuated people from the apartments next door.

"The inside of the building was just totally engulfed in flames. Flames shot up. You could see it. It was almost like a dome, just a dome of fire," said Romy Robles, manager of the apartments next door.

"When They got on scene, they went to a third alarm. So this event ramped up very quickly. We eventually went to four alarms on this fire," said Battalion Chief Dave Hare, Pasco Fire Department.

Wednesday crews used a crane to knock down walls and remove debris from the structure to make the building more stable and allow firefighters inside to investigate.

"I know it's pretty devastating, but it was from our perspective, pretty successful. We had a really large potential to lose the whole block here because of the zero clearance and we were able to contain it," Hare said.

Robles recently moved into the apartments next door after he lost his home in last month's fire at the Sacajawea apartments nearby.

Even though this is the second fire to displace Robles, he's keeping a positive attitude.

"It's given me a little quiet time and stuff, but I'd much rather be here in my home," said Robles.

The cause of the fire is unknown and firefighters still haven't been able to get inside the building yet to investigate because of stability concerns.

Hare says they hope to allow people back into their apartments as early as Wednesday night.