A swift evacuation by first responders likely saved the lives of several elderly individuals early Friday morning when a fire broke out in their Plain City apartment building, authorities said.
The fire erupted shortly after 3 a.m. at the Pleasant Valley Colony Apartments on Stenner Court off of Allgyer Drive, according to Chief Mark Kidd of the Pleasant Valley Fire Department.
When firefighters arrived, flames were venting out the rear windows of one of the multi-family apartment buildings. Officials with the Plain City Police Department were already on scene evacuating residents — some of whom had been sound asleep, Kidd said.
“That made a huge difference,” Kidd said. “There may have been fatalities if it were not for the police department’s quick reaction.”
Once on scene, medics escorted the five evacuated residents to the activity center at the apartment complex. The apartment community’s staff took over the residents’ care once they arrived. No residents required emergency treatment, Kidd said.
Firefighters pursued “an aggressive interior attack of the fire,” and were able to limit the blaze to the single apartment building.
Of the five apartments in the building, three were damaged. The two apartments on either side of the building are inhabitable, Kidd said. The other apartments are likely repairable, he added.
This is the second time this week a fire has broken out in a senior apartment complex in Madison County. However, the outcome was tragic earlier this week. On Thursday, a 71-year-old woman died from smoke inhalation following a fire at her Devonshire of London apartment. She was unable to escape her bedroom.
“We could have very easily had something just like that happen,” Kidd said.
The investigation as to the cause of the fire is still ongoing, but is listed as accidental, Kidd said.
He added that upon first hearing a fire alarm, someone should always call the fire department. Some residents discounted the alarm initially, he said.
“Always give us a call,” Kidd said. “We’d rather come out for no reason than show up and see fire coming out the back of the place. Early calls are good.”
Also responding to the scene were the Jerome Township Fire Department, Washington Township Fire Department, Norwich Township Fire Department, Prairie Township Fire Department, Jefferson Township Fire Department, Union Township Fire Department and Marysville Fire Department.
The American Red Cross also responded to the scene to provide clothing and make arrangements for shelter.
Andrea Chaffin can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 19 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.