Fire at assisted living facility sends 12 to hospital

Tacoma fire fighters responded to a reported commercial structure fire in the 1600 block of South Union Street at approximately 6:15 a.m. Tuesday morning. Fire fighters arrived at the scene to find heavy flames and smoke inside a dining room facility adjacent to the seven-story Life Manor Independent Living facility. Fire fighters worked to control the blaze and evacuate residents. According to Tacoma Fire spokesperson Joe Meinecke, heavy smoke poured out of the dining room facility and through an enclosed breezeway that connected the two buildings. The first two floors of the residential tower had to be completely evacuated. Later, all 144 residents were evacuated and moved to a nearby gymnasium. Twelve occupants were transported to area hospitals as a result of the fire. Preliminary findings indicate the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction in a room adjacent to the dining room, according to Meinecke.