Sunday, December 21, 2014

Apartment fire gives residents rude awakening

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 3/31/2014

Sandy Burson said he heard the screams before he saw the fire.

Discarded smoking material led to a non-injury blaze that damaged three apartments early Monday morning before dawn at Canterbury Courts in Ottawa.

“I live in a building over and went out when I heard the screams, made sure everyone is out,” Burson said. 

Ottawa firefighters responded at 3:18 a.m. Monday to a report of a fire on the balcony of Apartment D, a second-floor unit of 24 Canterbury Courts, an eight-unit apartment building, according to a fire report.

“The fire was driven by high winds from the South, and a total of three units sustained different levels of fire damage,” Jeff Carner, Ottawa fire chief, said in a report. “There were several residents home at the time of the incident that all escaped without injury.

“Although three units were damaged, the fire was contained to the immediate area of origin,” he said.

The fire caused an estimated $80,000 damage to the building and about $40,000 damage to the contents, Richard Oglesby, assistant fire chief, said Monday afternoon of initial estimates. The extent of the repairs was still being assessed Monday.

The fire damaged the balcony and flooring of Apartment D, as well as the ceiling of the apartment on the ground floor directly below Apartment D, Oglesby said. The fire also caused damage to an adjacent apartment on the ground floor, he said.

Residents in the adjacent, four-unit Building 22 were evacuated as a precaution and were allowed to return to their apartments, according to a fire department report. The department’s last engine cleared the scene shortly after 6 a.m. Monday.

The three damaged apartments should be inhabitable once repairs are made, Oglesby estimated. One of the apartments was empty, Oglesby said, but residents living in the other two apartments would be displaced until the units were repaired.

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