Second fire in one week breaks out at Timberglen

A fire broke out in an apartment in Building C at Timberglen Apartments early Thursday morning the second fire in Building C in less than a week.

The Craig Police Department is investigating the incident because, according to the department, there may be a connection to the first fire.

The fire occurred at 1:24 a.m. in apartment 38C. A fire department investigation pinpointed the cause to a cigarette that ignited a couch. It was a total loss to the apartment, which was home to apartment complex maintenance man Mel Hepner.

According to Fire Chief Roy Mason, all the apartment's contents were lost, either directly by fire or by smoke damage, and the apartment itself will need new Sheetrock, electrical wiring, carpet and paint.

Other apartments may have smoke damage, but the fire was contained to the apartment it started in, Mason said.

There were no injuries.

"The police department probably, with their quick response and efforts to evacuate the building, probably saved lives," Mason said. "They did everything right on that fire."

Officers had to break into some apartments because there were no responses when they knocked during the evacuation. Those apartments were empty.

"It was a mess for a minute," Mason said. "But it didn't take long to contain the fire."

Mason estimates the fire was contained within six to eight minutes after firefighters arrived.

Members of the Red Cross were on scene to arrange for alternate lodging for those evacuated.

Another fire at Timberglen Apartments June 14 started in an apartment used for storage and maintenance supplies. Because a door was left open that usually had been locked, the Craig Police Department labeled it as "suspicious" and is investigating that fire.

The room contained furniture, bedding, lawn-mowing supplies and some flammable cleaning supplies.

Craig Police Department Sgt. Bill Leonard is leading the investigation for the Craig Police Department.

Leonard said the department is currently looking into the possibility that a gas can had been moved from the storage room's back door and placed inside the room through an unlocked door.

Leonard said that some aerosol cans had also been found in the closet where the fire originated.

The fires are being investigated, Leonard said, because they occurred in such a short time period in the same building of the same apartment complex.

"It's usually common practice when we have anything like this," he said. "We'll look at it and make sure everything's OK."

Timberglen Apartment residents who are concerned about the fires can speak to victims' advocates, to apartment manager Kate LeWarne or the Craig Police Department, Leonard said.

"Some people understandably are upset because there were two fires out there," he said.

LeWarne said she had considered having a meeting with all tenants about the fires, but the tenants told her they didn't need it.

"They said 'we're fine, don't worry about us,'" she said.

"They just want to know how the fire got started."

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