Late Night Fire Leaves More Than a Dozen Displaced
A late night fire in a Southwest Gainesville apartment complex leaves more than a dozen people without a home. Bivens Cove Apartments houses many students, and with little more than the clothes on their back victims of the fire found salvation in fire fighters and the Red Cross.
The fire that destroyed eight apartments caused no fatalities --in part, the result of a quick response by Gainesville Fire Rescue. Lt. Ken Johnson of GFR was on the scene to investigate. The morning after, Johnson explains that "thermal imaging" helps to detect unknown dangers. "Little hot spots not necessarily flames but little hotspots can linger for many hours."
Believed to have started in a first floor apartment, the fire rapidly spread to neighboring units. The entire multi-unit block was evacuated. Johnson says, "The safety of one resident can often depend on the safety next door or apartments underneath."
No one was hurt, but 15 people --mostly students-- had no place to stay.Dispatched after 10:30 p.m., the Red Cross came to the aid of victims with everything from blankets to toothbrushes.
Laura Mager, Executive Director of the Red Cross was first to get the call, "Think about all of the things you need on a regular basis that you count on everyday: clothing, food and shelter."
With the help of Bivens Cove management, the Red Cross was able to find all the victims a place to stay, which was a challenge with this many people.
"We just up our ante a little," says Mager.
So fire prevention and safety --especially in multi-unit housing with students-- is key, Johnson says, "One problem that we have with students and sprinklers put in laundry rooms the like to hang clothes on their sprinkler."
Common sense is a must. "You don't want to go up, fires like to go up and you can easily get trapped," Johnson adds.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the majority of residents have been placed in more permanent housing within the same complex.
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