Today in fire history: four residents die in a four-story apartment complex fire

Blog Post created by paulalevesque Employee on Nov 13, 2014


On November 13, 1997, at approximately 6:00 a.m., a fire occurred in an occupied, four-story apartment complex in Bremerton, Washington. Four residents died in this fire, and twelve were injured.

The complex was comprised of 142 units, of which approximately 130 units were occupied at the time of the fire. The main portion of the complex was a U-shaped building. The ground floor, which contained storage areas, laundries, parking areas, and utility rooms, was made of noncombustible construction. The upper three floors contained the apartment units and were constructed of wood studs covered with fire-rated gypsum wallboard on each side. However, the exterior face of the walls was covered with 5/8-in. thick plywood that was not fire-rated. A two-story building occupied the open portion of the U and was built in a similar style as the main portion of the complex.

  • Lack of automatic fire sprinklers
  • Combustible exterior wall construction
  • The door to the apartment of fire origin being left open after the fire was discovered
  • Inadequately protected means of egress
  • Lack of proper fire separations in the combustible void space
  • Lack of a complex wide fire alarm system incorporating automatic detection

To read the NFPA full Investigation Download this Bremerton, WA report