Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 1:40am
Shortly before midnight on Friday, August 6th, a fire broke out at a 4-unit apartment complex causing $250,000 in damage, displacing eighteen people. When firefighters arrived, smoke and flames were billowing from a second story patio and balcony at 318 Swanton Road. As the firefighters were preparing for fire attack, the fire quickly spread to the attic area. Firefighters conducted a search of the building, finding everyone had evacuated the building safely and extinguished the fire within 24 minutes.
A mother from Apartment #4, helped her two young sons exit the building. She returned to the apartment to retrieve her dog, but when she opened her apartment door, she saw smoke and flames in the hallway, blocking the stairs. She shut her apartment door, went to the farthest bedroom got the dog to the ground, then hung from the second story window sill and jumped. She and the dog were not injured.
There is extensive fire damage to apartment #3, where the fire originated. Other apartments suffered water and smoke damage. Four cats were reunited with their owners after firefighters retrieved them from the building.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. No one was injured at the scene.
The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents with temporary housing and personal needs.
Firefighters remind everyone of these safety tips:
• Install a smoke alarm on every level of the home, one in each bedroom or sleeping area, and one outside the door leading to a bedroom. Interconnected smoke alarms will make sure the alarm is heard throughout the home.
• Test your smoke alarms every month.
• Have a home escape plan and practice it twice a year.
• When the alarm sounds, get out and stay out.
• After you have escaped, call 9-1-1 from a safe place.
• Never go back inside the building for any reason.
- Bernadette Galvez, (608) 261-9844