Four families temporarily have no place to call home after fire destroyed two of four apartments and damaged two other units Tuesday afternoon, local fire officials say.
No one was injured in the fire, which began in an upstairs apartment shortly after 2:30 p.m. at 126 Hardwick St., according to Baldwin County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Lewis Osborne.
An estimated 20 firefighters from Baldwin County Fire Rescue, along with Milledgeville Fire Rescue Services fought intense flames and heat for better than an hour and a half before they were able to bring it under control.
By that time, the fire had spread from one second floor apartment where it started to an adjacent unit upstairs.
The fire began in Apartment D, the top right hand unit, Osborne told The Union-Recorder.
Osborne said the tenant of that apartment told fire officials investigating the cause of the fire that she was cooking French fries on the stove when her next door neighbor called for her.
“She went down to see her and when she came back upstairs and opened the door of her apartment, the whole kitchen was on fire,” Osborne said.
The woman got her daughter and her niece out of the apartment before flames quickly spread to other rooms of the apartment.
She went around and alerted her neighbors in the remaining three apartment units.
Each of them managed to get to safety.
“We’re thankful no one was hurt as a result of this fire,” Osborne said.
The fire’s culprit was listed as a frying pan left unattended on the stove.
Osborne said flames from the fire ran an attic pattern and burned the entire roof off the building.
“The two units upstairs sustained the most damage, while damages to the two bottom apartments was basically due to water,” Osborne said.
The building was so badly damaged that it is believed it will have to be torn down and rebuilt.
The American Red Cross is offering assistance to the displaced families.