Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Four apartments burned in Eudora apartment fire

Two pets presumed dead in blaze

A fire early Wednesday at a Eudora apartment complex leaves three homeless.

November 19, 2008, 1:52 a.m. Updated November 19, 2008, 5:05 p.m.


Eudora apartments catch fire

An apartment complex in Eudora burns after a Zippo lighter fell beneath a couch Enlarge video

Four apartments in a Eudora apartment complex were destroyed by a blaze that was sparked when a Zippo lighter fell beneath a couch.

Five agencies responded to the fire, at the one-story Pinecrest II Apartments, 924 Walnut St. No injuries were reported, but two animals are presumed dead in the fire. The building is a total loss, Police Chief Greg Dahlem said.

“The two (units) on the south end were completely destroyed by the fire, the two on the north end sustained substantial water and fire damage inside,” he added.

Eudora Fire Chief Randy Ates said a strong breeze hampered firefighters' efforts and prolonged the fire, which shot through the roof and could initially be seen from blocks away.

"With the way the wind's been blowing, it pushed (the fire) into the next apartment through the attic eaves," he said.

Residents were evacuated from their homes by medics, who arrived on scene about 12:30 Wednesday morning. A wheelchair-bound man and his girlfriend occupied one destroyed apartment, and an elderly woman lived in the other. The man's dog and the woman's cat were unaccounted for.

Ates said a collapsed roof in one apartment made it difficult to douse remaining hot spots, which were still a problem at 3:30 a.m.

Power was restored to the complex about 2:15, but alarm bells rang for more than an hour after that. Residents, mostly elderly people, huddled in the complex's clubhouse, dressed in pajamas, bathrobes and blankets.

Michael Ashcraft, a resident of the apartment where the blaze began, said he lit a cigarette and accidentally dropped the Zippo lighter underneath his couch.

“I took my back scratcher and my fly swatter and swooped it under my couch and I couldn’t find my lighter so I figured it was ok,” he said.

When he was unable to find the lighter he went to bed. Moments later he smelled smoke and noticed that the couch was on fire.

He called 911 before helping his girlfriend and other residents get out of the building.

Resident Phillip Curley said he was awakened by emergency responders about 1:15 a.m. He said this is the third fire at the complex he could remember since he moved there in 2001.

Fire departments from the City of Eudora, Eudora Township, Wakarusa Township and Reno Township responded to the fire, as did a medic crew from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

The Douglas County Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting two families that were displaced by the fire.


gr 9 years, 6 months ago

Could someone describe what a zippo lighter is and how it would continue burning when released from your hand.

SMe 9 years, 6 months ago

gr a Zippo is an old lighter with a flip over top. It's filled with lighter fluid from the bottom. You ignite it with a flip of the thumb over the spark wheel and the wick burns until you close the top again. Once lit it'll burn 'til fuel is consumed unless you close it.A quick search of the net or eBay would've provided a quick answer.

WHY 9 years, 6 months ago

Did the zippo cause the fire or did the stupid kid playing with the zippo cause the fire.

Tracy Myers 9 years, 6 months ago

WHY..... read the ENTIRE article please....

concernedeudoravoter 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm so glad that you can all find humor in the midst of a people losing the items they own and a place to live. PineCrest is a retirement apartment complex, so it wasn't some 'stupid kid' playing with a lighter that caused this. Yes, a human being screwed up. That shouldn't give you all reason to heckle or poke fun at the situation.

granddaughter18 9 years, 6 months ago

I am a grand daughter of a resident in this appartment complex and I have a couple things to say.First off anyone who doesnt know what a zippo lighter is has no right to comment. common sense people GOOGLE it. They created these websites so that you can learn about things you dont know. (images included)Second thought... these people are ELDERLY that means that they are not always perfect as are none of us. This man obviously didnt TRY to start this fire if so I do believe that he could have been slightly more creative as to how he was going to burn the place down. He simply dropped the lighter. WE ALL make MISTAKES if anyone needs a reality check. I am sure that he didnt mean to KILL his dog or his girlfriends cat. I think that some understanding is needed in this situation and we should all realize that everyone is capable of a mess up now and again. Yes this is scary to think about we could have all lost more then an animal in this sad event but we should all be happy we didnt lose any of our loved ones other then animals not saying they mean any less. Maybe smoking should only be allowed outside and if the residents dont want to be in the weather then they should reconsider smoking. Love you Gram. =)

Confrontation 9 years, 6 months ago

Wow. A teen bashes gr for not knowing what a Zippo is, and yet, that "grand daughter" doesn't even know how to spell. What's happening to our educational system?! I'd suppose she'd do better if she could speak in "idk, lol, rflmao" language.

lazy1 9 years, 6 months ago

Are they for sure it was started by a zippo. Just because the guy said he dropped his zippo doesn't mean that is actually what happened. Lets wait and see what the fire investigators say.

Jessie Stoltenow 9 years, 6 months ago

Really? I'm pretty disappointed in most of these posts. Accidental fires happen all the time, in case you all didn't know. I'm glad to hear that everyone is okay and sorry to hear about the pets, as they mean just as much as family does. You wouldn't be bashing this article if it were you that was involved. You would be thanking your lucky stars that you're even alive. Also, Confrontation, about "what is happening in our educational system", you don't know how old this person is that wrote the post and I'm sure you aren't perfect with your spelling, so back off. None of us are perfect and you caring about someone's spelling should not be a concern. If you had any ounce of caring in you, you would be commenting on how lucky those people are to have gotten out of their homes safely.

Alexander Neighbors 9 years, 6 months ago

wow smoking can reading this I cant help think who is more to blame. Is it a.) The lighters fault.b.) cig's fault c.) the wheel chairs fault for not equipping the wheel chair with a fire extinguisher.d.) The cities fault for not banning smoking in your own home ?

Jessie Stoltenow 9 years, 6 months ago

lmatt - What does being "low income" matter? Again, accidents happen.

mc69 9 years, 6 months ago

I really don't appreciate you disrespecting the local community. As was stated before it shouldn't matter really how the blaze started we should all just be thankful that everyone made it out safe. Sad enough for the people who lost the animals, but you really shouldn't be commenting if negative thoughts are all you have to say. Those residents that lost have feelings too. Again, accidents do happen.

gr 9 years, 6 months ago

"I'm still amazed that someone didn't know what a Zippo is. I wonder if they have ever seen a typewriter or a turntable. Can I be THAT old?"Maybe they don't smoke.Maybe they thought days of lighter fluid were long gone in favor of butane lighters.Maybe they thought such things would have been outlawed years ago.Maybe they thought not everyone is of the type of assumming global warming exists and is above questioning.Maybe they thought the king really doesn't have clothes.

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