Officers on patrol heard an alarm and noticed smoke coming from 608 N. Prospect Street about 11:30 p.m. Monday, according to Tacoma police.
Tacoma fire had a different dispatch address, but said the location was at the corner of Sixth Avenue and North Prospect Street.
Three residents were evacuated from apartments on the upper level of the building, and Tacoma fire responded to extinguish a small blaze in the business below. Several other businesses sustained smoke damage, Tacoma police said.
No one was injured.
Tacoma fire said the blaze started when a pile of towels spontaneously combusted, after being removed from the dryer and placed on a table.
“They were too hot and they overheated,” said fire spokesman Joe Meinecke.