Capitol Hill apartment fire quickly doused; discarded smoking materials to blame

SEATTLE -- There were some scary moments on Capitol Hill as a two-alarm fire engulfed the rooftop on the five-story Carroll Apartments building on Bellevue Avenue East.

“We heard shouts form the street,” said evacuee Thomas Jacobson.

The huge plume of flames and black smoke could be seen several miles away. Cell phone video showed the fire broiling on the rooftop deck.

“Saw flames leaping 25 feet-ish into the air and black smoke,” said neighbor Brian Peters. “Ran through my house screaming oh my god, and grabbed my cell phone and called 911.”

Peters said he then ran inside the Carroll building to alert people about the danger above.

“Started pounding on doors while the firemen were arriving, trying to get everybody out that we could,” he said.

A propane tank on top of the roof vented gas and caused a loud boom during the fire.

Fire crews said all of the building's residents and their pets evacuated the building without injury.

Investigators believe improperly discarded smoking materials on the roof deck caused the fire. Residents said overhead sprinklers doused the flames inside the upper floor hallways.

Damage to the roof deck is estimated at $25,000.

In total, 25 apartment units were evacuated. People living in five of those are being told they can’t return because of water damage.

The Red Cross was offering temporary housing assistance to one family as of Thursday afternoon.