RICHLAND - A Friday morning fire in the basement of a Richland duplex unit at 1404 Swift Blvd. forced seven people to seek temporary housing and caused smoke damage throughout the structure.
Richland firefighters, assisted by crews from Hanford, Pasco and Kennewick, quickly put out the fire, which was confined to the basement, but smoke permeated the two-story dwelling, including the attached residence at 1402 Swift Blvd.
Ted Ricci, Richland battalion chief, said seven adults and teenagers safely got out of the building with no injuries. He said heavy smoke prevented firefighters and investigators from determining the fire's cause.
Property owner Micah Clark, who was not at home when the fire started, said he had renters in the part of the duplex where the fire started.
Clark, the director of Camp Patriot, a nonprofit organization that provides recreational opportunities for war-affected veterans returning from Iran and Afghanistan, said most of his and the organization's possessions were affected by the smoke.
He said he expects that extensive repairs will be needed for the 60-year-old structure.
Richland Fire Chief Grant Baynes said the Red Cross was contacted to help the renter family find a temporary place to live and be provided with necessary clothing and food.
Baynes said it did not appear the fire's start involved a washer and dryer in the basement. He noted that a bed had been set up near where the fire began.
Firefighters were using fans to clear smoke from the basement before bringing in an investigator to search for evidence of the cause, said Capt. Dean Reents.
The investigator won't be available until Monday, Baynes said.