Archive for Monday, July 11, 2005

Apartment fire leaves several homeless

Blaze damages four units at Village Square

July 11, 2005


A two-alarm fire that caused "significant damage" to a third-floor apartment Sunday night is under investigation by Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

No residents were injured in the fire that caused the evacuation of a three-story building at Village Square Apartments, 1500 W. Eighth Terrace, Fire & Medical Deputy Chief Mark Bradford said. One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat-related complications.

The fire originated in apartment No. 86, Bradford said.

A woman who said she was in the top floor apartment where the fire broke out suffered some scratches while getting two cats out of the building, she said.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said she and her boyfriend were watching a movie when she saw an orange light and then found flames in the ceiling over the kitchen. She said they expended three fire extinguishers trying to put the fire out.

An unidentified man and woman console each other while Lawrence firefighters work to tame a blaze at the Village Square apartment complex, 1500 W. Eighth Terrace. One unit was damaged by fire and three others suffered smoke or water damage Sunday night.

An unidentified man and woman console each other while Lawrence firefighters work to tame a blaze at the Village Square apartment complex, 1500 W. Eighth Terrace. One unit was damaged by fire and three others suffered smoke or water damage Sunday night.

Firefighters were notified of the fire at 7:47 p.m. after a 911 call was made to the Douglas County emergency communications center, Bradford said. The first fire unit arrived at 7:51 p.m.

"Heavy smoke was showing from the balcony side of the apartment," Bradford said.

Fire investigators were trying to determine whether the fire started outside of the apartment on the balcony or inside the apartment, Bradford said.

One other apartment sustained smoke damage and two apartments sustained water damage, Bradford said. The occupants of the damaged apartments were finding other places to stay Sunday night and had declined assistance from the city or the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross, he said.

Damage estimates had not been determined Sunday night.

Lawrence Police blocked a section of Ninth Street so that fire units could hook up to a hydrant on the south side of the street and run a hose across to the north into Village Square.


JWHawk 12 years, 4 months ago

That's what happens when you leave your grill unattended on a wooden balcony. Of course, they lied about it to the police. Hopefully they'll all find this out soon enough.

sarahkatheryn 12 years, 4 months ago

except if you look at the picture the fire is coming from inside and you can see the grill outside on that far left side of the balcony and it doesn't seem to be where the fire is originating - it seems to have burned through the middle of the roof - the part of the roof by the balcony is a little black but not burned through

kubug 12 years, 4 months ago

They don't know how it started and the apartment number is wrong in the story. It started in the roof.

wlf2527 12 years, 4 months ago

with the fire coming out of the roof it could be many things. Sometimes it can be electrical. Some things people don't see. heck that fire could have been going a long time they the attendents wouldn't have known.

tunarubber 12 years, 4 months ago

i live in village square, but would rather not comment on what i saw. all i'll say is that NO ONE deserves to have a fire in their home, whether they were using a BBQ grill, candles, cigs, etc. also, unless you are the fire department, you don't know where the fire started, so quit saying that you do. and the apartment was not 86, it was either apartment 5 or 6 (the top floors are those numbers). i've very thankful everyone is okay.

grio 12 years, 4 months ago

I used to live there 2 years ago. Like THERE, in Apt 1 in the bottom left in the picture. Those apts are tenderboxes, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happened from the electrical, or if I remember right, the stoners on the top floor. Don't know, but it sucks for anyone to have a fire in the house. Hope everything pans out well for the people involved.

Amanda Woodward Davis 12 years, 4 months ago

I'm just asking because I know who lives in apartment A6 and I want to try to get a hold of her if that's the case. I'm concerned.

megorama 12 years, 4 months ago

Let this be a reminder to everyone, GET RENTERS INSURANCE!!!

tunarubber 12 years, 4 months ago

have you tried contacting her? there are no a, b, etc. here. the top floor apartments are 5, 6, the middle level 3, 4 and the basement floor are 1 and 2. i had a few friends call me today because on the news all the buildings look the same!

i agree with the person who said to get renters insurance. in college, a friend of mine had a house fire and lost EVERYTHING. her house burnt to the ground and she didn't have insurance. it wipped her out financially and emotionally. we have a two bedroom and our insurance is like $100 a year. so worth it people!

2Jayhawker 12 years, 4 months ago

I know someone on the Fire department and they told me EXACTLY what caused the fire: Embers from hot coals from the grill fell onto the deck, setting the deck beside the outside wall on fire, the fire then climbed the wall and into the attic setting everything into motion. This is what REALLY happened. And it seems that there is a record at the Lawrence Police dept. of someone reporting these people for grilling on the deck and their hot coal embers falling onto decks below so this is not the first incident. I would venture to say these people are in big trouble and maybe that is why they refused to have their names released, as the paper reported and why they lied to police.

wlf2527 12 years, 4 months ago

best advise 2jayhawker its good u know how the fire started. I too know someone on the fire dep. I myself was a firefighter. From experience with fires u can't just go off a tell what you've heard from just one person. In this situation we have to let them talk this over with there chief etc. Other than that isn't there a law for having a grill on the deck here in lawrence.

jujubean40 12 years, 4 months ago

You all have a lot a nerve. How dare you set and pass judgement on people that you don't even know. You don't know how the fire got started. You all have your speculations, but you don't know. I know the person that lives there and they would not burn their house intentionally. And as for you grio, how dare you call them stoners. You have not a clue what you are talking about. Have you ever heard of an accident, I can tell you that without a shadow of a dought, that my friend did NOT start the fire either on perpose or accident. As for knowing someone in the fire dept, they are NOT even allow to say one way or the other to Civilians on thier speculations regaurding the orgin of a fire. So unless you have something that is true and have first hand knowledge in, its best not to say anything. Why kick a person when they are down. I was always taught that if you can't say anything nice DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.

Amanda Woodward Davis 12 years, 4 months ago

Amen jujubean. . . I know the person who lives there too and they absolutely wouldn't have done anything like this on purpose. We have been friends for 14 years and they are good people. It's something you hope never happens to someone you know, but accidents happen. Quit passing judgment and worry about yourselves.

rikkiends 12 years, 4 months ago

I live in A2 (ground floor beneath A6, where the fire started). The tenant in A6 told us that they dumped 2-day old ashes in a bag from the grill and there must have still been a live charcoal in there, even though it felt cool to the touch. The grill itself is fine so I'm sure it didn't start from the grill. They left the bag with the ashes in it leaning against the wall on the deck. I think it was just a horrible mistake and not total negligence. I've never had any problems with any of my neighbors grilling before.

As for the apartments being tenderboxes, I'd have to disagree. Living 2 floors below the fire, I watched the whole ordeal from the sidewalk with my kid and cat (the only things I could rescue) and I assumed I'd lose everything either to the fire or water damage. I lost NOTHING. I still can't believe it. Other than minor smoke damage (just odor, no stains), my apartment is perfectly fine. I'd say that the building must have been pretty well made for the fire, which had spread across the whole roof, to have been contained mostly to the one apartment.

I'd also like to say that our apartment manager put us up in a hotel the first night, but we'd also had offers from many of our neighbors, including perfect strangers, to stay with them until we could move back in. We stayed back in the apartment last night, and other than smelling like a camp fire and the cable is out, it was fine.

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