Resident recovers from Stadium Way fire

Tenants from quadplex fire stay with friends, placed in temporary housing

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BONNIE JAMES | The Daily Evergreen

Firefighters extinguish the remaining flames of an apartment fire Friday night near NW Stadium Way. The fire charred about half of the complex's first floor.

REBECCA WHITE, Evergreen assistant news editor

During half time of a University of Idaho men’s basketball game, Pullman resident Nick Kromm, 36, received an urgent text from his sister. She worked in a business on NW Stadium Way and had noticed smoke and sirens in the area above Dissmore’s IGA, Kromm’s neighborhood.

He immediately headed back to Pullman. Upon arriving, he discovered the apartment on fire was his.

“I’ve seen burnt houses and stuff,” he said. “But seeing that it’s yours, it’s kind of trippy.”

When Kromm first arrived on the scene, about 45 minutes after the fire started, police blocked him along with the rest of the public from going near his home. Dodging the stream of water from the fire truck hoses, he looked on as firefighters tried to contain the blaze.

“I’m just sitting there, like oh my God,” he said.

After the fire was out, an official took him to the house to see what was left. Kromm’s unit on the second floor of the building sustained less damage than the lower units, mostly smoke and water. The trees surrounding the building weren’t seriously burned, but the house’s inside and exterior were charred and stained by smoke.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” he said. “It’s still kind of sinking in, you know?”

The fire displaced Kromm and four other tenants at the quadplex, mostly non-students, Friday night. Kromm is staying with a friend for now and received aid from family and the Red Cross. One other tenant is also staying with friends and the Red Cross placed three others in emergency shelter, according to a Pullman Fire Department news release.

Glenn Johnson, Public Information Officer and Pullman mayor, said some residents were inside when the fire started, and police had to evacuate them, but no one was injured.

BONNIE JAMES | The Daily Evergreen
Evacuated residents look at their smoldering apartment complex while talking with firefighters Friday night near NW Stadium Way.

Kromm still hasn’t heard a damage estimate or what caused the fire, which can’t be determined until an investigator and building inspector examine the site this week. He hopes to go back soon during daylight hours to salvage any belongings that might remain.

He said fortunately he’d done laundry that morning, so his work uniforms for his two jobs at Dissmore’s and McDonald’s were in his car.

Most of the other items in his apartment are replaceable: CDs, clothing, furniture and memorabilia from concerts he’d been to, he said. The items he won’t be able to replace were a collection of spoons from around the world from his grandmother and a cookbook his mother gave him.

Kromm lived in the quadplex for about a year, but has lived in Pullman for 14. His parents said he could come back and move back in with them outside Seattle if he needs to, but for now he’s staying with friends and family here.