Colerain Twp. FD investigates four-alarm fire at apartment compl - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Colerain Twp. FD investigates four-alarm fire at apartment complex

The fire occurred in the 2400 block of Walden Glen Circle off Hamilton Avenue (Photo: Twitter/Colerain Fire Department) The fire occurred in the 2400 block of Walden Glen Circle off Hamilton Avenue (Photo: Twitter/Colerain Fire Department)
Colerain Township fire crews are attempting to put out a four-alarm fire at an apartment complex (Photo: Twitter/Colerain Fire Department) Colerain Township fire crews are attempting to put out a four-alarm fire at an apartment complex (Photo: Twitter/Colerain Fire Department)
Officials say that 21 people were displaced (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Ben Katko) Officials say that 21 people were displaced (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Ben Katko)
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Colerain Township Fire Department is investigating a four-alarm fire in an apartment building on Wednesday. 

The fire occurred at the Ashley Woods Apartment Complex in the 2400 block of Walden Glen Circle off Hamilton Avenue.

No injuries have been reported but 24 people have been displaced from seven families, according to Colerain Township fire crews. Red Cross was on the scene to assist the individuals displaced.

But, even though the flames are warm, battling them in freezing weather has presented some major challenges for first responders.

Fire officials believe the blaze started as a kitchen fire in one of the units that ended up much worse. However, the official cause has not been determined and remains under investigation.

“This ended up being four alarms,” said Capt. Darian Edwards of the Colerain Township Fire Department.

The damage from the four-alarm fire is widespread.

“My neighbor called me and said, 'Your house is on fire but the kids is ok.' We bust back here, we had four kids in the house. The second to the youngest grabbed my one-year old out just in time. The whole place is gone,” said Mike Schultz, a resident at the apartment complex.

Crews from nine departments fought flames that destroyed at least four apartments and damaged four others, in an eight-unit building. The flames are out now, but not before a long day's work was multiplied by the elements.

Officials say that the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Red Cross is currently assisting six of the families with temporary housing or other immediate needs.

"We have four hydrants for this large complex. At least one of them ended up being a frozen line,” Edwards said.

Those frozen lines aren't the only challenge facing firefighters. Workloads are being cut and crews are being swapped in and out just to stay warm.

"Just for the safety factor, we can only limit people to work for so long in truly cold or extreme hot temperature environments,” Edwards said.

It may be odd to see a firefighter stepping off a city bus or an ambulance. But, on Wednesday, the goal was a simple one–stay warm.

"We'll use the back of some of our paramedic units just to let five people sit down at a time and just start to warm up,” Edwards said.

Working up a sweat while working hard is usually a good thing, but not when temperatures are this bitter. A lot of times, Edwards says, you'll find firefighters packing themselves a separate bag of supplies like gloves, hoods and a change of clothes, just in case they do get wet and need to change.

"You can deal with the weather as far as the wind or anything. But once you get wet and cold, you're pretty much shot for a while,” Edwards said on the scene of the fire.

Firefighters simply can't afford that for themselves, and the people they serve.

"Let's be honest, once you start shivering it's even hard to think right, let alone to do hard, manipulative work,” Edwards said.

Officials say that EMS has placed the loss estimate to the building and contents to be $400,000.

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