Overheated Power Strip Sparks Massive Apartment Fire In King County

By Zuri Anderson

July 29, 2022

firefighters silhouettes on fire background
Photo: Getty Images

Investigators say a common household device is what caused a destructive apartment fire in Federal Way on Wednesday (July 27), KOMO reports.

South King Fire and Rescued confirmed an overheated power strip sparked a fire at Terra Apartments, which is located in the 35200 block of 21st Avenue SW. Nearly 100 residents were displaced from the blaze, and 36 units were damaged, according to officials.

Responding firefighters found huge flames and plumes of smoke bursting from the multi-story apartment complex. One firefighter had to be treated for heat exhaustion because temperatures were in the 90s that day, making it one of the hottest days this year in Western Washington, reporters say.

Jennifer Woyak, a third-floor resident, recounted the horrifying experience to KOMO. The news station says crews rescued her from an upper floor.

“I ended up opening up my front door to look out and the ceiling in the hallway is just on the floor, in front of my door," she says. "I said, ‘Well I'm not leaving that way.'”

The distressed tenant recalls not being able to escape from her balcony or her porch, but then she spotted residents below.

"I said, 'hey I'm up here help!’ They put a ladder up, one of the residents, or somebody put a ladder up," Woyak said. She later thanked the residents and firefighters for saving her.

Officials say the apartment complex will likely be demolished.

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