An electrical short is being blamed for a smoky fire Monday evening that caused an estimated $40,000 damage to an apartment house at 1601 Tenn.
Battalion Chief Jerry Karr said the fire began in the attic of the two-story, wood-frame house, which contained two apartments. The attic was gutted and there was some water damage inside both apartments. Karr said smoke damage was minimal.
The fire was reported at 5:14 p.m. A second alarm was sounded after fire crews arrived.
No injuries were reported.
Jamie Schmiedeler, who lived in the first-floor apartment, said a neighbor alerted him to the fire. Schmiedeler said he woke his roommate, Roy Worley, and then went upstairs to check on his neighbor, Matthew Schepis, and the two cats that lived in that apartment.
"I ran up the back stairs to try to rescue his cats," Schmiedeler said. "They ran away. I figured he (Schepis) was sleeping, too. ... There was just a little bit of smoke (on the second floor) and freaked-out cats. At one time the flames shot out the back window. They just blasted out all of a sudden. That's as bad as it got."
Firefighters removed Schmiedeler's brown and white spotted rat, Muttonhead, from the apartment safely.
Schepis said he was visiting a friend when he learned of the fire.
"I just hope my final paper is OK," Schepis said as the firefighting effort wound down. "It's in there. That's all I care about. It's finals and I'm hopefully graduating."
The paper, written for an African theater and drama class, was recovered undamaged.
The house is owned by the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, 1537 Tenn.
Dennis Enslinger, historic resources administrator in the city-county planning office, said the house at 1601 Tenn. is significant due to its proximity to the Ludington-Thacher House, 1613 Tenn. He said any demolition or repair work on the property would have to be approved by the Lawrence Historic Resources Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office.