Apartment fire displaces at least 10 residents

Apartment fire displaces at least 10 residents

URBANA – Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire early today in a southeast Urbana apartment building that displaced at least 10 residents.

Urbana Fire Division Chief Richard Rotramel said a mother and daughter lived in the apartment of the Colorado Trace apartment building at 902 E. Harding Drive that was heavily damaged around 1:30 a.m.

Residents of the three-level building were safely evacuated. That included one woman who was taken out the window of her second-level apartment – not the one where the fire was – for apparent smoke inhalation. Rotramel said she was taken to an area hospital. He did not know her name or the names of the mother and daughter who lived in the apartment damaged by fire.

Rotramel said the call came at 1:26 a.m. It came from a resident of a nearby apartment building.

"When the first crew got there, there were flames coming from the top level, southeast window," he said, adding that the fire was contained to the bedroom where it started.

Firefighters were on the scene about three hours. Rotramel said he planned to return to the building for a more thorough investigation later today.

Fire company officer Brian Nightlinger said because it was an apartment building, a second alarm was sounded soon after the call to get more firefighters there to help with the evacuation.

"That gives you enough people to do the required rescues. You need a lot of hands," he said, adding the evacuations must be done before firefighters attack the flames.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Damage was estimated at $50,000.

John Dickey, manager of the Central Illinois Red Cross based in Champaign, said his agency helped 10 people find temporary shelter, including the lady who was taken to the hospital. She was treated and released, he said.

"I think there are more people (affected) than what we helped. When we were called out we were told 15. We were ready for whatever. We helped 10 people with comfort kits that have soap and shampoo, and blankets and provided lodging and food for the next few days," Dickey said.

Dickey said he went in the building after daylight to assess the damage and said even though the fire was contained to the one apartment, there is a lot of smoke damage.

"A person could not be in there for very long due to the smoke damage," Dickey said, adding that the utilities were also turned off.

Dickey said one of the residents, Shawn Costley, told him: "You see this all the time on TV, but you never think it will happen to you. "

"They were very pleased the Red Cross was there to help," Dickey said.

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