Forty-one people lost their homes after a fire overtook the Lighthouse Apartments south of Seattle on Sunday afternoon.

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Forty-one people lost their homes after a fire overtook the Lighthouse Apartments just south of Seattle on Sunday afternoon.

There was heavy fire damage to all three buildings in the complex in the 9800 block of Des Moines Memorial Drive South. Twenty apartments and nine vehicles were damaged or destroyed, the North Highline Fire Department said.

“I’ve lost a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never lost everything I own in 20 minutes,” said Shalam Das, a two-year resident who watched with his 13-year-old son as fire came out of the floor above his family’s apartment.

Firefighters saw a column of smoke billowing from the buildings when they first arrived on the scene at 2 p.m. All four floors of one building were enveloped in flames.

It took three hours to control the fire, according to a North Highline Fire report.

Two residents were taken to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries, the report said.

The King County Fire Investigation Unit has not determined the cause yet, said John Urquhart, spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Office. And no damage estimate has been made.

Union Gospel Mission, a faith-based nonprofit, owns the building and is mulling its next steps for the complex and its now-displaced residents.

“The building is going to need to be torn down and rebuilt,” said Sharon Thomas, a spokeswoman for the mission.

Seven families, two couples and seven individuals had been living there, she said.

The mission is reaching out to friends, family and the Red Cross for housing options, said Gary Fast, the organization’s senior vice president.

The mission is asking for donations for displaced residents, especially men’s clothing. Socks, underwear, gift cards to department stores and housewares would help, too, she said.

To make donations to the mission, call 206-723-0767 or email

J.B. Wogan: 206-464-2206 or