COLUMBUS, Ind. — An early Thursday morning fire at an apartment complex in Columbus hospitalized one man, displaced 10 residents and caused $30,000 worth of damage, according to the Columbus Fire Department.
Officials said around 4:05 a.m. Thursday, the Columbus Fire Department, along with the Columbus Township Fire Department, were called to the Williamsburg Apartments on a report of a fire on the third floor of the complex. According to a news release from the department, firefighters found heavy fire showing from a third-floor balcony, as well as fire showing on a second-floor balcony.
As firefighters attacked the fire, they found that some of the residents in the building were still in their apartments. According to the release, firefighters alerted the residents inside and helped them evacuate. One man was treated for smoke inhalation and was taken to an area hospital.
During an investigation into the incident, officials said they believed the fire originated on a third-story balcony and was “likely attributed to improperly discarded smoking materials left on the wooden balcony” of the apartment, the release said.
“Investigators believe that the early morning fire went undetected for an unknown period of time before the flames and burning debris communicated to the wooden balcony below,” the release said. “While the majority of fire damage was isolated to the wooden decks, investigators said that the building’s brick façade prevented further damage on the interior of the apartments. Damage to the interior of the building was isolated to the second-story and third-story apartments as a result of overhaul, as well as water damage caused during the extinguishment. Investigators have ruled the fire as accidental in nature.”
Officials said three families were permitted to return to their apartments at the end of the investigation. Two apartments in the complex have been “deemed inhabitable” as a result of damage, displacing seven adults and three children. Officials said that the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross are providing emergency services to those involved.