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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Unattended cooking ruled cause of two fires

Friday, October 12, 2012

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Two apartment building fires Wednesday were caused by unattended cooking, and Henry County Public Safety Director Rodney Howell is urging the public to be aware, attentive and not become distracted when cooking.

Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of all structure fires in the United States, he said.

A fire at the three-story brick apartment building at 1605 Spruce St. Ext. displaced 25 residents from 11 families but caused no injuries to residents. It broke out about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The apartment building probably will be a total loss, he said. “I don’t think they (residents) will be going back there.”

Howell said that fire started on top of a stove.

Firefighters were on the scene until about 11 p.m. Wednesday. They were called back about 12:30 a.m. Thursday and were on the scene about four hours. Howell said.

Firefighters from the Martinsville, Dyers Store and Axton fire departments responded during the early morning, along with Henry County Public Safety and Stone Ambulance.

One of the firefighters was overcome by heat and was taken to Memorial Hospital, Howell said. No further information was available.

He added that the Red Cross is taking care of the displaced residents.

Residents who need to get possessions out of the lesser-damaged apartments should contact the building’s owner, he said. The owner is Spruce Street Apartments; it is managed by Jeff Adkins of Martinsville.

About 3 p.m. Wednesday, a fire was reported at a one-story, wood-frame apartment building on Colonial Hill Drive in the Bassett Forks area, Howell said.

Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from one unit of the apartment building and brought the fire under control, Howell said.

One unit of the five-unit building was damaged. The resident of the damaged apartment was not injured and is being taken care of by the Red Cross. The residents of the other four units still are living there, Howell said.

He estimated the damage to the building and the contents at about $20,000. Otis Joyce of Henry County owns the building, Howell said.

Firefighters were on the scene about two hours. Firefighters from the Bassett and Collinsville fire departments responded along with Henry County Public Safety, Howell said.


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