Updated Sept. 5: The fire at a Parkwood Apartments four-plex on Clark Street on Friday was likely caused by a “hot, smoldering object such as a cigarette,” the Boise Fire Department tweeted Tuesday. The official cause is undetermined, according to BFD.
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A young Boise couple said they were told by firefighters Friday that they lost everything in a fast-moving fire that engulfed a Parkwood Apartments four-plex on Clark Street, close to the Hillcrest Shopping Center.
But not quite everything, as it turned out.
As other firefighters mopped up Friday afternoon, one went back in and pulled out Kyle Gilbert’s 15-year-old turtle, Harley, from the charred remnants of their second-floor unit.
“It’s all I was worried about,” said Gilbert, who was glad no one was killed or seriously hurt in the fire. He was overcome with emotion as his family crowded around him to look at his beloved red-eared slider, who peered back at the group from the bottom of an orange bucket.
A firefighter hurt his shoulder while battling the blaze but no one else was injured, Boise Fire Department spokeswoman Char Jackson said. One four-plex was badly damaged by fire, a second had smoke damage and a third had some minimal charring but no active fire. Residents of six units at Parkwood have been displaced.
Gilbert and his girlfriend, Sierra Ivins, were both at work when the fire started. Sierra’s brother, Dalton Ivins, was at their apartment.
Dalton said he pounded on other residents’ doors after he saw smoke. The building was not on fire yet.
“When I first saw the fire, the only thing engulfing was the stack of pallets and all those damaged hot tubs that were leaning against the fence,” he said.
Pallets and boxes at the adjacent Snake River Pool and Spa were burned in the fire, which was reported at 10:32 a.m. on 4892 W. Clark Street, not far from Orchard Street and Overland Road.
Neighbor James Jimenez was working in his yard and heard the sirens. Then he looked up and saw the smoke plume, he told the Statesman.
“It was a ... big black mushroom cloud,” Jimenez said.
The whole side and roof of a two-story complex was on fire, he said. Jimenez said he saw people helping elderly folks — possibly residents — get away from the building. He also saw at least two firefighters go in with flashlights to look for people.
Numerous firetrucks were dispatched to the scene as a crowd gathered. Police pushed back people who were watching the blaze from near Snake River Pool and Spa. They blocked off access to Clark Street, and Orchard also was temporarily blocked between Kootenai Street and Overland.
The families affected by the fire will be assisted by the Boise Burnout Fund, the Red Cross and Trauma Intervention Program volunteers.
Anyone who would like to donate furniture, clothes or other items to Kyle Gilbert and Sierra Ivins can email Kyle’s mother, Kelly Eller, at firstname.lastname@example.org.