UPDATE: Apartment fire started by child playing with lighter
By: Lauren Fabrizi
Fire officials said a child playing with a lighter was the cause of a fire at an apartment complex near N. 48th and Colfax Friday afternoon.
Fire Investigator Ken Hilger said it started in the bedroom of the second floor apartment when a young child lit a blanket on fire. The fire had roads blocked off and neighbors crowding around the scene.
“When I went out, one corner of the building was on fire,” tenant Jack Martin said. “Then before I knew it, pretty much the whole top floor was engulfed.”
Hilger said the child lit the blanket on fire and then tried to put it out with cups of water before the flames got out of control. Hilger said the child's mother saw smoke coming from the bedroom.
“The parent opened the door and said at that time she could not see anything – just pure black,” Hilger said.
That's when another tenant saw flames and called 911. Fire officials said by the time crews arrived, everyone in the 14–unit apartment complex already made it out. One person was transported to the hospital, but the injuries weren't serious.
Officials are calling it a total loss for the apartment where the fire started. About five other units also suffered major damages. The rest have smoke and water damage.
“There was heavy fire involvement in both the first and second floor on the west side of the structure,” Chief Tim Linke said.
Fire officials said all of that damage totals about $250 thousand in structural damage, and at least another $200 thousand from items inside the apartments.
The residents are currently displaced until further notice.