Christmas Day Fire Ruled Accidental

Fire investigators say a Christmas morning blaze that heavily damaged a Bellevue apartment complex was accidental.

The State Fire Marshal's Office says the fire at the Fontenelle Hills Apartments near Tanglewood Court and Martin Avenue started on a third floor balcony and spread from there. Fire crews were alerted around 4:30 Tuesday morning.

Everyone inside was able to make it out of the burning building safely.

While investigators were providing answers about the start of the fire, displaced tenants were still sorting through questions that have yet to be solved.

John Lehman told 6 News that he and his wife Alison were awakened on Christmas morning by a knock on the door signaling the fire that was about to consume their home.

Alison said, “I initially thought we were being robbed so I woke my husband up. He went out to check everything and that's when he noticed the living room was glowing really bright orange."

The bright orange glow John saw was coming from the unit beside them. “I grabbed the fire extinguisher that they have placed in the hallways and everything, but then when I got back to the sliding glass door I saw how much fire there was and - yeah, it would have just been a waste of time."

By the time crews had the fire contained all ten units, the building had been heavily damaged.

On Wednesday, Alison was able to go into their apartment and take a look at what was left. They lost, “everything.” She said, “There’s nothing. Our bed was burnt the guest room is completely gone - the living room - the ceiling's on the floor."

As for what's next for the couple, John says they're currently staying with family and that the apartment managers are working closely with them. “They said they are going to do everything they can to get people either into empty units in this complex or into another complex they own."

(Photo courtesy of 6 News)


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