Fire at Columbine contained thanks to resident's quick action

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— Columbine Apartments residents evacuated their homes Saturday evening when the main building fire alarm went off.

Most stood by watching and waiting for emergency services to come.

Not Clay Dietrich.

Deitrich said he stepped out into the hallway and saw his manager notifying people to evacuate, so he asked her what was going on. After being told a second-story balcony was on fire, Dietrich grabbed a fire extinguisher and headed that way.

“I have a little fire training from work,” Dietrich said. “I couldn’t just stand back and watch something like that happen, not if I know how to do something about it.”

Dietrich used the extinguisher to fight the fire from below the balcony. Dietrich said he could hear sirens and knew he only had to hold the fire off until the fire department could get there.

“I did it for two reasons,” Dietrich said. “One, I know how to use a fire extinguisher. Two, if somebody didn’t do something fast we were going to have more than just a balcony on fire.”

Craig Fire Chief Bill Johnston agreed.

“I thank him for his actions. Because of his quick action he’s responsible for that remaining a small incident,” Johnston said Monday. “That place is all wood and highly occupied, creating a high potential.”

Johnston said no one was displaced or injured and the only damage was to the outside of the second-floor apartment. Johnston said the fire was a result of improper disposal of cigarette butts.

Dietrich, who’s lived in the complex for about seven years, said he was happy to help everybody out.

“It made for a much better Easter because nobody had to leave,” Dietrich said.

He also added that it took the person who reported it, his complex manager and himself to put out the fire.

“It wasn’t just me. There were three people who helped stop it,” Dietrich said. “I just used the training from work and by golly it came in handy.”

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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