Nearly 30 Displaced After Christmas Day Apartment Building Fire

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 26, 2022 at 10:04am

Members of the South Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Murrayville, and Woodson Fire Departments as well as the Jacksonville/Morgan County Office of Emergency Management responded to the scene at the corner of South Main Street and Dewey Drive for a call of a fire in the attic area of a multi-unit dwelling Sunday morning.

The South Jacksonville Fire Department was first dispatched at 11:06 am yesterday. South Jacksonville Fire Chief Richard Evans Jr. says efforts to extinguish the fire in the attic area of the 14-unit complex were hampered due to how the building was constructed.

All of the apartments have plywood on the ceiling so that made it difficult to gain access in several of the apartments. Once we were able to get into the attic we were able to knock it down including all the hot spots between the rafters and stuff like that.”

Evans says his department was called out to the same address overnight Saturday for an electrical issue that had caused a small fire, however, all seemed to be in order when they left.

No estimate of the damage was available as of press time. Evans says the damage to the apartments themselves is not nearly as bad as it could have been. “The majority of the fire and smoke damage was really in one, maybe two apartments. The rest have just water damage from us spraying water in the attic. [ESDA Director] Phil McCarty was on scene and he helped coordinate with the Red Cross in getting people someplace to go.”

Evans says the Red Cross set up at the South Jacksonville Fire Department to assist those displaced by the fire. He says several of the roof rafters were burned through fairly extensively so more inspection would be needed before an estimate of damages and if it is able to be repaired can be determined.

Crews were on scene until late afternoon yesterday. No one was injured in the incident. Two cats and one rabbit were saved by firefighters during fire suppression efforts.