Tenants evacuated after Manor Apartments fire

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COLUMBIA - Columbia fire crews put out a fire in the basement room at 1121 Ashland Road, the Manor Apartments, in Columbia Thursday afternoon.

Battalion Chief John Metz said residents were not allowed back into their apartments immediately, but crews were available to help them retrieve belongings or pets inside once the fire was out. The Columbia Fire Department received the call at 3:13 p.m. and arrived several minutes later. It took crews about five minutes to put the fire out.

Molly Gallagher lives in the building with her one-year-old miniature dachshund, Frankie. Gallagher said learned about the fire on Twitter and left work to make sure Frankie was OK. Frankie is one of at least three dogs inside the complex when the fire started. 

"I was expecting the worst," she said. "They're fine, but they were scared of the smoke."

The complex is a seven-unit facility. Metz said smoke reached the main floor, but the fire remained in the basement level where he said the fire started. Metz said when crews entered the utility room, firefighters encountered thick, black smoke. 

"The thick black smoke that the crews encountered prevented them from seeing if there was any other fire in the basement," Metz said. "Once they knocked down what they thought was the main body of the fire they had to ventilate the smoke and determine if there was any other fire extension. Fortunately, there was not."

Metz said he did not know the cause of the fire or the cost of the damage late Thursday afternoon.