Two people and their pets escaped via second-floor balconies as a fast-moving fire destroyed their adjoining duplexes Friday morning.
The fire was reported at 9:16 a.m. at 3609, 3611, 3615 and 3619 Olive St., in Vancouver’s Lincoln neighborhood.
Jason Underhill, 22, was getting ready for work when he smelled smoke. He went onto the balcony and saw flames licking up the vinyl siding of his duplex as high as the rain gutter. He quickly went back inside and located one of two pet cats, threw it off the balcony, and then leaped to safety before calling 911.
It all happened so fast he was unable to grab a shirt or shoes, he said. The fate of the other cat is unknown.
Meanwhile, a neighbor in the adjoining duplex discovered the fire. She heard windows exploding and the sound of the fire. She immediately phoned her fiance, Jose Nava, 25. Nava said she told him she was trapped, but then was able to grab their dog, a border collie mix named Meech, and get onto their balcony.