A late-night residential fire at Stonegate Apartments in Columbus has left 28 individuals without a home.
All 12 units in the building at 201 Stonegate Drive on the city’s east side were evacuated, and no one was injured, said Capt. Michael Wilson, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department.
Firefighters, responding to an 11:30 p.m. Saturday call, arrived about seven minutes later and found heavy smoke and fire coming from the south side of a two-story building within the complex.
Stonegate Apartments — which has 116 rental units within nine free-standing buildings — is located just west of North Marr Road, south of 10th Street and east of Garland Brook Cemetery.
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Smoke alarms were sounding and residents were already evacuating when firefighters and Columbus Police Department officers arrived, Wilson said.
Firefighters initially entered the structure and made an aggressive attack, but intense flames and smoke forced them to continue fighting the fire from an exterior position, Wilson said.
As the fire intensified, flames entered the attic and quickly spread throughout the roof line, he said.
As the fire continued to burn, flames breached the roof and portions of it collapsed, Wilson said.
Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control by using an aerial platform and a deluge gun, he said.
Soon afterward, fire crews re-entered the building to extinguish remaining pockets of fire, Wilson said.
“Anytime you have a fire like this, it’s devastating to (tenants) — not so much from a standpoint of replacing items that you can get at a store, but the financial papers, the personal items,” Chief Mike Compton said Sunday afternoon.
The fire generated considerable heat, and heavy doses of water were used to extinguish it, Compton said.
For the time being, all 12 units are uninhabitable, he said.
“There was a lot of damage to the building and it’s going to take a lot of work to put it back into a position for people to have (use of) it again,” Compton said.
Investigators went through every apartment and examined evidence, Compton said.
The cause of the fire was undetermined as of mid-afternoon Sunday, and remained under investigation, he said.
No damage estimates were immediately available.
Fire crews cleared the scene at about 9 a.m., and the building was turned back over to Stonegate management about 1 p.m., he said.
Due to fears of structural collapse, Compton said a fencing contractor had been contacted by the apartment management to add fencing around the building.
Agencies assisting the Columbus Fire Department were Columbus Police, Columbus Regional Health EMS, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross, which was working Sunday to assist the 28 residents in finding temporary shelter.
East Columbus Township Fire and Rescue and Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department were placed on standby while city firefighters battled the fire.
“Anytime you have a fire like this, it’s devastating.”
— Mike Compton, Columbus fire chief