A large, four-alarm structure fire Thursday evening destroyed an apartment building under construction along the Everett waterfront, damaged a couple of homes and sent up billowing smoke that could be seen for miles.

The fire started burning the south building of the Waterfront Place Apartments at the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place at Fisherman’s Harbor sometime before 5:45 p.m., according to Everett officials. Several firefighting agencies responded to the blaze.

“Fire units arrived on scene to find a fully involved fire and established a defensive attack on the fire,” the Everett Fire Department tweeted.

The heat was so intense it damaged a ladder truck and an aid car, according to a statement from the city: “The heat caused the ladder truck’s windows to blow out, and both rigs were burned, and components melted or warped on each vehicle.”

The fire, near the 1300 block of West Marine View Drive, spread to a nearby hillside where residents live along Grand Avenue, said Everett fire spokesperson Rachel Doniger.

Fire and embers blown eastward set trees and brush ablaze along a bluff, started a roof and attic fire in a home on Rucker Avenue, and sparked multiple other spot fires in the area, the city said.

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Residents used hoses to keep the flames from reaching their homes, KOMO reported.

A fire on Everett’s waterfront consumes an apartment building that was under construction Thursday night. The fire threatened homes on Grand Avenue, some of which had burning embers land on their rooftops. (Courtesy of Connie Peterson)

A firefighter suffered minor burns to his hand and was taken to the hospital, Doniger said. No residents reported injuries.

The Snohomish Public Utility District temporarily cut power in the area for safety reasons while firefighters worked.

The fire was contained by 9:30 p.m., though crews were there throughout the night to watch hot spots, Doniger said.

Construction on the 266-unit complex began in September, according to The Herald of Everett. It was scheduled to open in 2021.

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According to the Everett Fire Department, 53 fire apparatuses and about 73 fire personnel were on the scene.

“While this presents a setback to the project, the Port is resilient, and our project partners are committed to rebuild,” wrote Port of Everett Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lefeber. “We will continue working with private development partners to keep up momentum of the entire project, and the Port intends to move forward with the build out of restaurants and retail pads in the 2021 timeframe as planned.”

The cause of the fire will be investigated by the Everett Fire Department and Everett Police Department with input from the ATF due to the extensive damage. The cost of the damage hasn’t yet been estimated.