Firefighters: Grease fire destroys apartments; man says he was cooking deep-fried pancakes

LYNNWOOD -- A fire ripped through an apartment complex forcing over a dozen to evacuate overnight. Tenant Richard Padilla says he was cooking deep-fried pancakes when the grease caught fire.

“It caught the pot on fire, then the stove on fire, and the whole kitchen on fire,” said Padilla. “It happened within minutes.”

Padilla says the flames erupted and he couldn’t put them out. He then yelled upstairs to his girlfriend who grabbed his young son and they ran out of the townhome at the Westwood Apartments.

“I knew you’re not supposed to put water on it. I’m a cook. I work in a kitchen. I knew I needed to use flour or the fire extinguisher, but by the time I tried to use the fire extinguisher and it didn’t work the fire was already too big to be inside.”

Firefighters blocked off the area around the apartments near 52nd Avenue SW and 176th Street SW. Several of the apartments were damaged by the smoke and flames.

The Red Cross is helping those families out of their homes.

Firefighters estimate the damage at $500,000.