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Originally published Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:14 PM

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Firefighters save pets in burning North Seattle condos

Residents of at least six units have been displaced after fire swept through a North Seattle condominium building.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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We all need a neighbor such as David Bailey: an instrument of peace and savior of dogs... MORE
Great job by the firefighters! MORE
good job by all the neighbors and firefighters ! ourr pets are part of our family . MORE

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When David Bailey saw smoke pouring from a friend’s North Seattle condominium building Friday morning he took off in a full sprint toward the flames.

Bailey knew Claudia Stoppelmoor was at a job interview and her dog, Lily, was probably trapped inside her burning building. Bailey alerted Seattle firefighters and they went inside and retrieved the trembling Bichon Frisé.

Several other pets were rescued from the building, and one cat, which was not breathing when carried from the building, was resuscitated by firefighters.

Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said fire crews were called to the building at 11532 15th Ave. N.E. just before 11 a.m. when a motorcycle fire was reported in the garage. The motorcycle fire spread to a car and trash bin before moving up the side of the building.

The building was quickly evacuated, and residents stood on the street watching the flames.

Moore said the motorcycle had an electrical malfunction that ignited the blaze. Damage has been estimated at $250,000.

Stoppelmoor, who had turned off her cellphone during her job interview, learned about the fire when she turned it back on.

“After I found out Lily was OK, I cried,” she said.

Bailey stayed outside the building holding Stoppelmoor’s dog until she returned.

Moore said residents in at least a half-dozen or so units were displaced by the fire. Stoppelmoor was able to return to her unit to gather up some things, but because the pipes had melted, she won’t be staying there.

Stoppelmoor and other residents say this was the second time in several years that a fire forced residents to evacuate.

“I’ve lived in the building about seven years, and about two and a half years ago, our roof caught on fire,” she said. “It was 11:30 at night, and one of the guys who lives in our condo is a fireman and he started fighting it.”

One woman, a nurse who declined to give her name, said she was asleep Friday morning after working a night shift when she was awakened by an explosion. Disoriented, the woman first thought she was awakened by snowfall, but then she smelled thick smoke.

The woman, who has lived in the building for nearly 15 years, said she managed to grab her purse but was unable to get her two cats.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

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