Staff Reports

The 15 people displaced by a fire at Quail Run Apartments building won’t be able to return to their homes for days, the property manager said.

Eight of the building’s 16 units at 1152 Kevin Drive were affected by a Thursday night fire, three of them sustaining fire damage, Columbus Fire Department spokesman Lt. Mike Wilson said.

“At least two of them will have to be completely renovated,” Ashley Knight, property manager for the 16-building Quail Run complex, said Friday.

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Four second-floor tenants were rescued at the eastside complex, located at 10th Street and North Gladstone Avenue, but the fire left an estimated $225,000 in structural damage and $50,000 more in loss of contents, Wilson said.

Columbus firefighters were called to the apartment building around 10 p.m. Thursday, where they discovered heavy black smoke that originated from a first-floor unit that was spreading to the second floor, Wilson said.

Firefighters witnessed two occupants on the balcony of Apartment 2A. With the stairway exit blocked by flames, firefighters instructed the occupants to retreat back into the apartment and go to a window located farthest from the flames. Rescue personnel placed a ground ladder in an apartment window, and safely rescued Jeff Foley and his teen daughter Alison, Wilson said.

Two additional occupants from the building were trapped on a balcony at the rear of the fire building, Wilson said.

Rescuers arrived at the balcony of Apartment 2B, and found Tevis McCammon and his teen daughter Sidney. Both were brought down safely and moved away from the building, Wilson said.

The fire started on the first floor in Apartment 1D, which had working smoke alarms, he said. As firefighting crews prepared to enter building, fire conditions inside the apartment intensified, Wilson said. As flames grew, fire began to spread to the apartment’s stairway leading to the second story, he said.

Outside the apartment, firefighters were approached by Sharessa Burton, who stated that she believed her husband was still inside Apartment 1D. But with the assistance of Columbus Police Department officers, Burton was escorted away from the building to ensure her personal safety. As officers spoke to Burton, her husband — whose name was not immediately available — was located safe in the apartment complex parking lot, Wilson said.

Major damages from fire were isolated to Apartment 1D and to the exterior façade of the building, he said.

“Our guys had a great stop. Had the fire continued unchecked for a longer period, we may have seen more units with major damage,” said Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Terry Whitis, the incident commander.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within 20 minutes. The fire cause could not be immediately determined, however, Wilson said.

With heavy rain from an evening storm falling at the scene, and many of the occupants dressed in sleeping attire, Quail Run management provided a temporary shelter within their business office building located on the property. Fire department officials used this space to aid in interviewing the occupants, as well as to arrange emergency shelter for tenants who were displaced.

As fire officials spoke to those affected by the fire, officials learned that several pets were unaccounted for.

One dog died in Apartment 1D, but a second in the unit was rescued and given oxygen through a device specifically made for dogs, and then reunited with the owners, Wilson said. One cat was found unharmed by the owner in Apartment 2B, and an additional cat from Apartment 2D turned up later, he said.

The Salvation Army arranged emergency shelter for about half of the occupants, with the others providing their own shelter, Knight said.

Other agencies that assisted at the scene included Columbus Animal Care Services, Columbus Regional Health Emergency Medical Service, Duke Energy, Vectren Energy and Columbus City Utilities and the Salvation Army.