Archive for Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fire sweeps apartment complex

Tenants all safe, but several displaced

Fire engulfs apartments at 1700 W. Fifth St. on Sunday afternoon. These apartments were heavily damaged by fire, and three other units in the complex sustained varying amounts of damage. All residents were accounted for Sunday night.

Fire engulfs apartments at 1700 W. Fifth St. on Sunday afternoon. These apartments were heavily damaged by fire, and three other units in the complex sustained varying amounts of damage. All residents were accounted for Sunday night.

October 18, 2009


Blaze strikes apartment complex

Several apartment units were heavily damaged by fire Sunday afternoon when a blaze broke out at a complex at Fifth and Wisconsin streets. Enlarge video

Fire consumes North Lawrence apartments

An afternoon fire Sunday caused heavy damage to several apartment units at the Rose Garden complex near Fifth and Wisconsin streets. No one was injured in the fire. Enlarge video

Several apartment units were heavily damaged Sunday afternoon when a fire broke out at a complex at Fifth and Wisconsin streets.

The two-alarm fire was reported just after 4 p.m. Sunday. Flames were shooting through the roofs of three units of the Rose Gardens Apartments, and the ground-level living areas under them also were damaged. There is also a detached fifth apartment just west of the fourplex where the fire broke out, which sustained moderate damage, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical officials.

“We looked out the window, and we saw orange flashes,” said Angela Viles-Shop, who lives in the detached unit. “We opened the window and heard crackling and there was fire coming out of the unit across from us.”

A firewall helped the firefighters contain the flames and prevent greater damage to the two units on the north end of the fourplex.

“There’s a firewall between apartment one and two, and the crews were able to stop the fire from spreading,” Fire Medical division chief Eve Tolefree said. “Wind was a factor as well.”

All of the residents who were home evacuated safely. Tenants said one resident was not at home when the fire broke out. All residents were accounted for later Sunday night.

The fire was reported under control a little after 5 p.m. Sunday but Fire Medical crews and police officers remained at the scene for several hours more.

The Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross was also on scene to assist the displaced residents with food, clothing and shelter.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is being conducted, and damages are being assessed.


jayhawk9 8 years, 8 months ago

Anyone know the name of the complex, if any? I have a friend that lives near there and is out of town. I hope its not her place but thankful she is safe as it sounds that everyone was safe.

kjb311 8 years, 8 months ago

Not sure of the name, its on the NW corner, the units have sliding doors from the kitchen that face the street. We know the girls from unit 2 had not come home yet. I'm trying to get the name...

jayhawk9 8 years, 8 months ago

Thank you so much! I will let my friend know.

BMI 8 years, 8 months ago

Good to hear it sounds like everyone got out safely. I wonder if anyone had to cross the street quickly. I sure hope they used the crosswalk at the light. Wouldn't want them to get a ticket while they are running for their lives. Mr. Kealing, has that company crosswalk policy tweet gone out to the field staff yet?

heybluekc 8 years, 8 months ago

Does the fire department not use water anymore? They stood there and let it burn, did not even have a hose in hand.

MaryKatesPillStash 8 years, 8 months ago

Yikes, glad everyone's safe. Eerily close to the anniversary of the Boardwalk fire.

NotASquishHead 8 years, 8 months ago

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Gr8ful 8 years, 8 months ago

As a wife of one of the firefighters that just fought this fire, I can tell you that they ran into the building as soon as they got there. Just because you don't see them working doesn't mean that they aren't. Don't pretend to understand someones job if you aren't an expert at it. They risk their lives for you... you should be greatful.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 8 months ago

I'm asking for some help here. This was family. My oldest son, his wife and my 5 year-old grandaughter have just lost everything. If anyone can help with donations please contact me. If you have anything; furniture, clothing, household goods anything will be greatly appreciated. They are also expecting their 2nd child around the first of the year. We had just moved all the hand me downs there and all of that is lost as well. I'd like to thank the whoever was responsible for getting them into a hotel room and seeing to their immediate needs. Thankfully they were not at home at the time of the fire..

Clickker 8 years, 8 months ago

Careless disposal of smoking materials? Great.

hawkfan_05 8 years, 8 months ago

Cause of the fire is unknow at this point. Let's not assume anything because you know how that makes you look when you're wrong! Thank you fire department for doing your job and containg a fire that could have spread into more apt's.

CMNanaki 8 years, 8 months ago

I was really hesitant to come look at this, I Live in one of those apartments that is on fire in this video. The fire department arrived promptly, They immediately were evacuating people and checking for occupants. This video was no more than 5 minutes after the fire started as you can tell by the extent of the damage at this point compared to later. We are super appreciative of the support from everyone and the quick response. God provides we were fortunate enough to salvage ID's keys, and other important legal items.

silentilproven 8 years, 8 months ago


I suggest you go look at the apartments that burned and you will see LDCFM got one heck of a stop on the fire that saved two units from burning. If you only knew what it is like to be a firefighter and how the job is done you wouldn't be talking crap on them.

Great job guys. You've been busy these past couple weeks but keep up the great job.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 8 months ago

CMNanaki-I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you to the firefighters for the good work they do. I am so thankful that no one was hurt.

persevering_gal 8 years, 8 months ago


I thought the same thing when I saw the fire department come to Aberdeen South Apartments on October 8th, until I realized that a part of being a firefighter is to investigate the fire. The firefighters immediately went into the apartments at Aberdeen, but did not use water, because they had to inspect to see where the fire was at and how to go about and putting it out (what I'm assuming to be the quickest and safest manner - due to a risk of structures collapsing), and to also look for people/pets. Like Gr8ful stated, we should be grateful, because the damage could have been far worse and we really do not know what goes into their jobs.

CMNanaki 8 years, 8 months ago

I will re-iterate, The fire department was there in no time. The police arrived minutes after the fire started. They did a wonderful job checking the homes assessing the spread of the fire and handling it. We believe in large part the fire did not spread so quickly because of the Fire walls between each apartment. As you can watch in the video it spread around the front and through the attics. We refuse to play the blame game, we are extremely fortunate to have been downstairs when the fire started, as by the end of this the entire upstairs has damage, and the staircase is completely collapsed. Thank you to all the firefighters they were extremely supportive and helpful, and it could have been much much worse. God bless!

KaraGourley 8 years, 8 months ago

Great job LDCFM! You guys make US proud!

Emily Hadley 8 years, 8 months ago

You'd think Lawrence was built out of matchsticks.

MindSpeeker 8 years, 8 months ago

For those of you on here who want to play the blame game and point fingers you really should be looking in the mirror and consider yourself a horses rear. Firefighters dont run on to a scene with a hose in hand spraying them with water because water doesnt always put out a fire dummy! Why dont you worry less about how the professionals are doing their job and worry more about the people who were involved. Like grammaddy said there were people who lost everything in that fire that need our help rather than on here being stupid. I know grammaddys daughter-in-law and let me tell you if it were your house she wouldnt be pointing fingers and blaming you for "disposing" wrong.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 8 months ago

Thank you MindSpeeker!We should worry about those who lost their homes and not on who's at fault. Nobody set out to start this fire, and after hearing about faulty ceiling lights and switches, if this turns out to be anything other than an electrical short that caused this, I will be really surprised.If not, then it was an accident. Nobody set out to do this kind of damage, and accidents happen every day.You don't put out electrical fires with water. And don't try to 2nd guess the firefighters. I went through an even more destructive fire which almost cost me my youngest daughter in 1983 and believe me, firefighters have a special place in heaven. We should all hold hope in our hearts that ALL of these residents can put their lives back together soon.Thank whoever that no one was hurt. Nothing is more traumatic than watching everything you own go up in flames,but it could have been much worse.

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