Fire spreads to three Lakewood houses thanks to debris left outside vacant home

Three houses in the Tillicum neighborhood of Lakewood caught fire early Friday, and five people were left without a place to live, according to West Pierce Fire & Rescue.

Investigators believe the fire started inside a vacant house in the 14400 block of Union Avenue Southwest and spread to homes on either side.

Crews were called to the area just before 1 a.m. and found flames visible from miles away.

The fire was upgraded to a second alarm, which brought more firefighters and resources to fight the blaze.

Although it was not immediately clear what caused the fire, officials said it easily spread due to the amount of debris left outside the vacant house.

Five people were able to escape on their own. No one was injured.

Gene Tetteh, who moved into one of the burned homes in May, said neighbors have been frustrated by the mess left behind after residents were evicted from the vacant house where the fire started.

“I just can’t believe it,” Tetteh told KIRO-7. “I spent a lot of money, all my resources to build this duplex. It took me a year and a half. So now, it’s a loss.”

The Red Cross is assisting the five people who were displaced.