Fire burns part of Kent Family & Community Services building


Workers wade through damage at the Family & Community Services building Wednesday. Photo by Rex Santus.

Rex Santus

A fire burned through part of the Family & Community Services building on Gougler Avenue in Kent before 6 a.m. Wednesday.

“The one main office for Family Services was burned pretty good,” said Chief Dave Manthey of the Kent Fire Department. “The rest of the building suffered smoke damage.”

Manthey said the cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation. There were no injuries.

Mark Frisone, executive director of Family & Community Services, said there is no dollar-amount estimate for damages yet.

“It’s fair to say roughly a third of the building was implicated in the fire,” Frisone said. “It was sizeable. We have no idea [how much repairs will cost] — they will be significant.”

The fire burned through the northern part of the building. Firemen sorted through the wreckage Wednesday afternoon. The windows were blown out, and the building was surrounded by caution tape.

“The part that is burned will take weeks or months to be gutted and rebuilt,” Frisone said. “The remediation company is onsite, and they’re going to work round-the-clock. Hopefully we’ll be able to open at least partially come Monday morning.”

Frisone said the fire will not cause too many problems for workers at Kent Family & Community Services.

“With two-thirds of the building not really damaged, we’re going to double-up some staff,” Frisone said. “The ones that lost their offices in the fire will have to be relocated in the same facility.”

Family & Community Services shares a building with United Way, a non-profit fundraising agency.

“United Way got a lot of smoke damage,” Manthey said. “They should be up and running in a couple days.”

Frisone said he is thankful the Kent Fire Department was able to stop the fire.

“We’re very fortunate,” Frisone said. “It was tremendous response time by the Kent Fire Department … They did a great job of getting on it quickly and minimizing the extent of the damage.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].