Investigators following leads on suspicious Pullman firesPosted: Updated:
PULLMAN -- Fire investigators have their hands full in Pullman after a number of fires Thursday morning burned nine apartment units, two garages, and one vehicle.
One person who suffered minor cuts , burns and smoke inhalation was initially taken to Pullman Regional Hospital but has since been airlifted to Harborview Medical Center and is said to be in stable condition.
Witnesses say they heard two explosions when the apartment fire on Nye Street behind Dissmore's grocery started, then they heard two more explosions later on.
Officials say the first call came in at 4:31 a.m. reporting a detached garage burning in the 500 block of SE Jackson Street. The garage was fully involved when firefighters arrived. As firefighters were dousing that fire, they found another garage that was on fire in the immediate vicinity.
At 5:13 a.m. firefighters were called to a fully involved nine-unit apartment complex at Nye and True streets. It was here they found one person injured. Responders also arrived to find an adjacent duplex also on fire.
A fully-involved vehicle fire was reported at 6:45 a.m. on McKenzie Street near LaPlante Honda. A SUV was destroyed in the fire.
Fire Chief Pat Wilkins says the fires taxed his department, and 10 off-duty firefighters were called to help the eight on duty. About 20 more firefighters and their equipment were called in from Colfax, Moscow and a Whitman County fire district.
A task force of fire investigators from Region 8 in Walla Walla will be investigating the fires, ruled suspicious because they all occurred in about two hours.