Apartment fire causes evacuation
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
May 9, 2014, 09:54
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Firefighters work on scene as people wait outside after the sixth floor was evacuated.
HOPEWELL — Around 1 p.m. Tuesday a call came into the Hopewell Fire and EMS for reports of a structure fire at Hopewell Heights apartment complex. The sixth-floor apartment fire caused an evacuation of the entire building for more than an hour.
Units 1 and 2, totaling about 10 fire personnel, from the fire department responded to call, which turned out to be a small kitchen fire in the apartment.
Captain Ronnie Ellis, with the Hopewell Fire and EMS, said the fire was caused by unattended cooking materials.
“There was very minimal damage,” Ellis said. He said the occupants in the apartment will be unable to reside in the apartment due to lingering smoke damage and damage from the fire department completing an “overhaul” of the unit.
The fire was confined in the kitchen, according to Ellis. He said within the first five to 10 minutes upon arrival of the responding units, the fire was contained.
An evacuation of the apartment was in progress when the fire department responded, Ellis said. Due to the condition of some of the residents in the apartment complex, a shelter in place was put into effect. Ellis said the only floor that had to be cleared was the sixth floor.
Hopewell Fire and EMS Chief John Tunstall said on scene that all the smoke had to be cleared from the building before anyone could be allowed to re-enter.
The fire in the apartment did not affect any other unit in the building. Smoke was reported on the fifth floor, however Ellis said that was cleared in a short amount of time.
The decision on when to let the occupants back into the apartment will be up to the building manager, Ellis said. He said to his knowledge the occupants were staying in the same complex with family members.
The Hopewell Emergency Crew responded to the apartment complex on Tuesday afternoon as well. Ellis confirmed that the emergency crew treated one person but was not able to provide any further details. He did confirm that the person was treated on scene and was not transported.