UPDATE: Flames Engulf Planned Apartment Complex
COLUMBIA - A fire that tore through the Brookside on College apartment complex early Sunday morning left little of the structure still standing and $7 million in damage.
According to the Columbia Fire Department, the fire, which started around 5 a.m., caused "extensive damage". The building is "likely a total loss" and preliminary estimates place the damage at $7 million.
Dorm buildings located across College Avenue's five traffic lanes also sustained window damage from the radiant heat. No one was injured in the blaze.
Immediately upon arriving, firefighters issued a request for a second and third alarm, meaning that all on duty Columbia firefighters and equipment were asked to come help. The three-story, 73-unit complex was "heavily involved in fire" when they arrived, according to the Columbia Fire Department.
Due to the heavy flames, crews were unable to enter the structure and were forced to fight from the outside. According to the Columbia Fire Department, firefighters simultaneously attempted to knock down the main body of flames while protecting the neighboring buildings from the radiant heat.
The fire blazed for 90 minutes before 40 firefighters and 12 firetrucks could bring it under control. Crews are still working on extinguishing hot spots nearly eight hours later.
Investigations as to the cause of the fire cannot begin until the all hot spots are extinguished and the building is deemed structurally safe. The Columbia Fire Department said there is no time frame as to when the investigation will be complete.