Above: Kids and adults, many of them barefoot, waited for firefighters to arrive at the Family Support shelter on 7th Avenue in Olympia this morning.
By Janine Unsoeld
Earlier this morning, shortly after 10:00 a.m., Olympia firefighters responded to a report of a fire at the Family Support shelter called Pear Blossom Place, located at 837 7th Ave SE.
The shelter, formerly the city-leased Smith Building, is across from the old city hall and opened in June 2014.
After the alarm went off, residents and onsite staff came streaming out of the building and waited outside for over two hours. Many children were barefoot and without coats, including a mother and her baby, who was clad only in a onesie. The weather was relatively mild, but became cool at times. Some held onto their dogs, and one woman held her 17 year old cat safe and cozy in a backpack.
Olympia and Lacey Fire Dist. 3 crews arrived to find the fire controlled by the buildings automatic sprinkler system. According to a fire department press release, firefighters ensured the fire did not extend beyond the apartment and evaluated two patients, one for a minor burn injury and the second for smoke inhalation. Both patients refused further aid and were released at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
Above: Firefighters arrive at Pear Blossom Place.
The Olympia Fire Department responded with four engines, one ladder truck, two medic units, and a command unit. Lacey Fire District 3 also responded and assisted by covering additional emergency responses within Olympia. One minor firefighter injury was reported and was expected to be seen at Providence Saint Peter’s Hospital for a minor laceration.
The Olympia Fire Department remained on scene to assist the residents, remove smoke, water, and investigate the fire. The American Red Cross was contacted to assist the families. At this time the cause of the fire appears to be accidental. Total fire loss is expected to be $20,000.
Schelli Slaughter, executive director of the Family Support Center, arrived onsite soon after the firefighters to assist and determine individual needs. She said about 15 families and 60 individuals total are currently living at the shelter, which provides housing for local homeless families with children. She said some units were perfectly fine, others will take more work, and that two units were most affected.
A company that deals with water damage was seen onsite late this afternoon.
For more information about Pear Blossom Place, and how you can volunteer or help the shelter, go to the Family Support Center of Sound Sound at www.fscss.org.
Above: Kids are excited to receive stickers from firefighters while they waited until they could get back inside the building.