A fire in a Kennewick apartment Tuesday night forced two families out of their homes.
Two women called 911 about 6:15 p.m. when they noticed smoke coming from the wall of their 21st Avenue apartment. Kennewick firefighters soon figured out the smoke was coming from the apartment below, said Kennewick Fire Capt. Brian Ellis.
Downstairs they discovered the residents had left a pan on a hot stove after they left home.
The burning pan ignited some paper towels. The fire destroyed the stove and cabinets and spread into the wall.
But Ellis said the blaze had mostly burned itself out by the time fire crews arrived.
However, a hamster inside the apartment was overcome by the smoke and died.
And both families were forced to find other places to stay. The women and a child living upstairs were helped by the American Red Cross, and a couple and their kids in the lower unit found family members to stay with.