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Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blaze tears through Berkeley Flats apartments

Lawrence firefighters were called at 10:16 p.m. Wednesday to a blaze at Berkeley Flats apartments, just south of 11th and Indiana streets.

Lawrence firefighters were called at 10:16 p.m. Wednesday to a blaze at Berkeley Flats apartments, just south of 11th and Indiana streets.

September 19, 2012, 11:15 p.m. Updated September 20, 2012, 1:57 p.m.

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Lawrence firefighters look over one of the apartments at Berkeley Flats, 1123 Ind., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, where an overnight fire displaced 14 people.

Lawrence firefighters look over one of the apartments at Berkeley Flats, 1123 Ind., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, where an overnight fire displaced 14 people.

Firefighters respond Wednesday night to a fire at Berkeley Flats apartments, in the 1100 block of Indiana Street. There were no injuries reported in the blaze, but 14 residents were displaced.

Firefighters respond Wednesday night to a fire at Berkeley Flats apartments, in the 1100 block of Indiana Street. There were no injuries reported in the blaze, but 14 residents were displaced.

Fire rages through Berkeley Flats

Berkeley Flats residents Robert Mazey, Lawrence, and Savannah Zielinski, KU freshman, Raymore, MO., talk about escaping their building during a fire Wednesday night. Enlarge video

A fire tore through two Berkeley Flats apartment buildings, 1100 and 1104 Miss., about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, though no injuries were reported.

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 10:19 p.m. to find fire and heavy black smoke streaming from the top-floor windows of apartment buildings 1104 and 1100, said Division Chief Eve Tolefree, a Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical spokeswoman.

The incident was under control by 10:46 p.m., Tolefree said.

“I tell you, this was pretty dramatic,” said Phil Mansfield, who lives in the building next to the apartments. “There were 10- to 15-foot flames coming out of the window with great billows of nasty-looking, black smoke.”

As the fire spread through the top floors of the buildings, all of the occupants of the 12 affected apartments and nearly all of their pets were evacuated safely and without injuries.

“I was studying elsewhere,” said Kansas University student Andie McKenzie, one of the apartment occupants. “My neighbors called, and I didn’t believe them. I’d imagine there was some damage, but there are worse things in life. I’m still alive; my fish might not be, but it’s just a fish.”

Jane Blocher, executive director of the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross, said that 14 residents were displaced and that Red Cross will provide temporary housing as well as clothing and food allowance for those people.

As of Thursday morning, Tolefree said they did not yet know the cause of the fire nor did they have a damage estimate.

At least one of the displaced residents said they were not yet able to re-enter the affected apartments.

But from the looks of the damage, the worst of the fire was in building 1104 on the south side of the top floor.

Frank DeSalvo, KU associate vice provost for student affairs, was on hand to offer help to the affected KU students. The university will notify the students’ professors and help with book rentals and computer replacement.

Comments

jonas_opines 2 years, 3 months ago

Damn, wow. There went my old apartment! Flames looks like it's coming straight from the unit I was living in (over 8 years ago)

truthhurts 2 years, 3 months ago

That's funny Jonas. I was in Berkeley a couple different times in the mid-late 90s. I think I lived in 1110 the first time. Good location for football games. Glad everyone made it out ok!

Michelle Fales 2 years, 3 months ago

Prayers to all involved. Glad Red Cross and Jane's team is there to assist them. Thank you.

Adrienne Sanders 2 years, 3 months ago

Those apartments are actually on Mississippi street despite the Indiana street address, aren't they?

Astrunk 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes they are, though they are listed with an Indiana Street address. It tripped me up too at first.

tolawdjk 2 years, 3 months ago

Back when I was there in 94, I lived in a unit that "technically" had an Indiana address, but all the entrances came in off of Mississippi.

Spookily, now 2 of the 3 apartments I lived in while I was in school have now burned.

ksjayhawk74 2 years, 3 months ago

It looks like it, according to Google maps. The apartments that look like the photo above, look they are on Mississippi St.

Google Map of 1123 Indiana St.,

Google Map of 1123 Indiana St., by ksjayhawk74

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 3 months ago

They take up the whole block between Mississippi and Indiana at 11th Street. The parking lot is right in the middle, so half the complex is on Indiana and half is on Mississippi. The office is in one of the Indiana street buildings. The fire occurred in the buildings on Mississippi right across from the stadium.

vandelay90 2 years, 3 months ago

Nolan Real Estate. They are based in California. I know they own Orchards Corners, Trailridge, and a few other complexes in Lawrence.

Darrell Lea 2 years, 3 months ago

"We had to threaten to form a tenants association and sue them, but they caved and gave us compensation for the cost of one year's worth of cable."

Ah, the power of unionization! Thanks for the anecdote.

kufan1146 2 years, 3 months ago

How fitting that the ad before the video of students talking about the fire is for Paul Davis Restoration! Haha.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Are there no fire walls to prevent the fires from spreading between apartments?

tolawdjk 2 years, 3 months ago

Remembering my old place...I seriously doubt it. I was in one of the older buildings, and it wasn't quite the firetrap that Boardwalk was, but if a fire reached the porches, it would have been a nightmare. The walls certainly didn't seem to be able to stop sound, much less flame.

BlueWaffle 2 years, 3 months ago

I want to say that thank goodness everyone is ok. And the Quick response from the fire department, management and just people actually caring about their neighbors means so much to many. This could of been a huge tragedy but because people stepped up its a story about a fire not about someone's kid, sibling, parent, friend leaving this world.

jackpot 2 years, 3 months ago

Posted to Facebook about 1:50 PM today:

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical

LAWRENCE, KS – The cause of the fire located at 1100 Mississippi St.-Berkley Flat Apartments is classified as accidental due to improperly discarded smoking material. Damages are estimated in excess of $400,000.

Clickker 2 years, 3 months ago

The fire was ruled accidental, caused by “improper discardment of smoking material,”

To me, thats not an "accident"...sounds like negligence...maybe even gross negligence. In fact, regardless of what Bradfor says, If I were the property owner or the Insurance company that just got whacked for 1/2 a $mil....I would go after the guy/gal civilly. Having been displaced in the past by such an "accident", I can tell you the costs add up fast...and in my case, the person who improperly discarded the smoking material is still paying for it.

Charles L Bloss Jr 2 years, 3 months ago

Some idiot, who can't handle smoking properly, destroyed 14 people's lives and property.

Clickker 2 years, 3 months ago

Right...If I were a Slip-n-fall, I would be getting those 14 people together and hope that the Idiot was some rich kid from JoCo....I would at least suck daddy's umbrella down for a mil and then some.

Hate to say it becuase I am not for lawsuits like this, but in this case, I have seen what the negligence can do...and it sucks for those affected.

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