Apartment Residents Upset Over Fire

By: Alex Hassel, John Chapman Email
By: Alex Hassel, John Chapman Email
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Residents at the Hillsborough Pointe Apartments are appalled at what started Friday's fire.

"Is there more to it? How do three different incidents at one complex within 13 months all have to do with cigarettes?" says Jeff Thornton, one victim.

Friday's was the third fire at the complex in just over a year. The cause for all three is said to be cigarettes.

The two-alarm blaze near North 144th and Sprague streets broke out around 2 p.m. About 30 residents live in the building that burned. One person was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

"Signing up again come next April, it's not looking good because of this and other problems we've had," said resident Brandon Ray. "I saw just water pouring down my balcony." He said the smoke was coming from the top of the roof.

Apartment Fire

"What do you tell your family when you can't go home that night," said resident Randy Clemens. "You can't go home and you can't know what's going on. It'll be another couple, a day or so before we'll be able to go in there and see what's salvageable and whatnot and what is left. You got to worry about moving out."

Investigators said while they don't know exactly where the fire began, it quickly spread through the attic. They called a second alarm because of the quickly spreading fire and went into a defensive attack mode for fear of a roof collapse. Crews remained on the scene to put out hot spots after the fire was brought under control around 4 p.m.

There was a fire at the complex in March 2013 and another in December 2012. The repeated fires have left residents shaken. "It doesn't make me feel good," said T.C. Maley. "When you leave for the day, go to work and just leave, you worry about, is my apartment going to catch on fire?”

Thornton adds Hillsborough management has offered the victims other units to stay in at this time.

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