35 people displaced in Fairfield apartment fire

35 people displaced in Fairfield apartment fire
Published: Mar. 20, 2018 at 7:31 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2018 at 3:57 PM EDT
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FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - Thirty-five people are displaced in a large Fairfield apartment fire overnight, authorities said.

Flames broke out in a third-story utility room at Camelot East Apartments in the 1400 block of Sherwood Drive about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Fairfield Fire Chief Don Bennett.

The first responder on scene, a police officer, reported seeing fire shooting from the window of a third-story utility room, he said. Arriving fire crews spotted heavy fire coming from the third floor roof.

At one point, fire crews had to battle the blaze from outside in a defensive mode because it was too dangerous to go inside.

No one was hurt, but 24 families totaling 35 people are displaced, the Red Cross said.

"It's just an unfortunate accidental fire, but we will be looking at it in the morning when it's a little safer to be out there digging around in it. We are fairly confident it is going to be in that third floor utility room," he said.

Twenty-four apartments were impacted, including 12 with smoke and water damage that are uninhabitable, according to Bennett.

Another dozen have no utilities because power had to be shut off in the building. Those units do not have damage, so their residents will be able to return once power is restored.

"All of the effected families were either referred to a shelter by the Red Cross or arranged for housing on their own," Bennett said. "Everybody did have renter's insurance, which is highly unusual."

Resident Mathew Kohlmorgen said he's got to laugh to keep from crying, but is thankful things weren't worse.

"You got to realize that's just stuff. You know, you're alive. I'm healthy. My friends are alive everybody is alive the pets are alive. You know, it sounds petty but it's just stuff," he said.

Damage could top $100,000, Bennett added.

"This could easily go to $100,000  because we lost the entire roof off the building, the third floor apartments were fire damaged and the second and first floor apartments have heavy water damage."

By early Tuesday afternoon, an American Red Cross representative said they put up displaced residents at hotels who did not have ways to find other temporary housing.

There's no official cause on what started the fire.

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