Massive Fire Destroys Apartment Building Under Construction

August 9, 2014

Madison firefighters battled a fast-moving fire for two hours Friday night before bringing it under control. Calls began coming in shortly after 7:30 p.m. from drivers on Interstate 90 who saw the flames and smoke, from the area of the 500 block of Apollo Way.

Medic 5 and Engine Company 5 were first on scene of a 64 unit, 4 story apartment complex under construction. As they approached the scene and saw the scope of the fire, the company officer called for a second alarm. Firefighters and paramedics reported intense heat that damaged the engine and forced them to pull back. Because the building was under construction, with no occupants, and the 3rd and 4th floors fully involved with fire, crews were able to adopt a defensive strategy to protect the occupied dwellings. Houses across the street had melted siding and cracked windows from the heat, but firefighters kept a steady stream of water on them to keep them cooled, and also fire streams on themselves to protect them from the heat. City building inspectors determined there was no structural damage to the homes.

Callers to the 911 Communications Center continued to report intense heat, heavy smoke, falling debris and grass fires along the interstate and at various points across the east side for up to an hour after the initial dispatch. Crews had the fire under control at 9:37 p.m. but continued to battle hot spots.

Eleven MFD units responded to the fire, including the new Fire Station #13, which came on line just weeks ago. Engine 13 was 30 seconds behind Engine 5 and Med Unit 5.

A reserve Engine and Ladder, fully staffed, were assigned fire watch overnight to protect the scene, the neighborhood, and put out any hot spots.

Fire investigators also remained at the scene to begin their work in determining what caused the fire. Damages have not yet been calculated.

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