Fire During Thunderstorm Leaves Three Columbia Apartments Uninhabitable
COLUMBIA - Three apartments are uninhabitable after a fire that might have stemmed from lightning damage. No injuries have been reported.
At 9:02 a.m. on Tuesday, the Columbia Fire Department responded to a reported fire in an apartment building at 3601 Broadway West, building 33 of the Kelly's Ridge Apartments, located in west Columbia. The 9-1-1 caller reported that building 33, a twelve-unit apartment building, might have been struck by lightning. The caller also reported a smoke odor in apartment 302.
Columbia firefighters arrived on scene at 9:05 a.m. and reported no visible smoke or fire. As fire crews investigated, a bystander stated "crackling" could be heard in apartment 303. Using a thermal imaging camera that detects heat, firefighters located a fire in the attic space above apartment 302. Firefighters accessed the attic and the fire was quickly extinguished with a single hose line. Crews remained on the scene for approximately two hours, removing drywall and insulation as they searched for hidden embers.
The occupant of apartment 302 stated she awoke during the thunderstorm and smelled a gas or smoke odor, and contacted the apartment manager. The manager then called 9-1-1.
Apartment 302 has fire damage and the two apartments below have water damage. All three units are without electricity until repairs can be made. Columbia Assistant Fire Marshal Lt. Lisa Todd is investigating the origin and cause of the fire. While the area was experiencing a thunderstorm around the time the fire was discovered, it has not been determined if lightning was the cause of the blaze. There were no injuries and damage to the building is estimated at $35,000. The occupant does have renter's insurance.
Three fire engines, a ladder truck, and a rescue squad responded to the incident.