COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Fire officials say 12 families were left without a home after a Sunday morning fire at a Columbia apartment complex.
The fire happened at the Briargate Condominiums located at 1421 Old Manor Road. The fire started on the balcony of an apartment unit and burned through the exterior wall and up into the roof, which caused even more damage to the building units on the side of the fire.
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Officials with the Columbia Fire Department say no one was injured in the fire. The American Red Cross says it is helping approximately eight of the families displaced from their homes.
"It was big flames. They was about four, five feet high. I was thinking about maybe my place, or my mom, make sure they was alright and everything, but it was crazy, it was crazy," resident Andre Sims said.
A total of 12 apartments were damaged. The Richland County Fire Marshal said that an investigation did not yield a cause due to the extent of damage in the area of origin. The Irmo Fire Department assisted CFD with battling the blaze.
"We did have to call a code red. Code red means that we had to get all our firefighters out of the building because of the condition of the building. So we got all our firefighters out," said Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins.
This is the second fire that Columbia Fire has had to respond to this year at the Briargate Condominiums. In January, 40 people were displaced after 12 apartments were damaged in a fire.
If you or a loved one encounters a situation like this, the following are some tips from State Farm Insurance:
- Once out of harm's way and 911 has been called, contact your insurance agent immediately if you have Renter's Insurance. They can help you initiate the claim's process and many offices can write you a small check immediately once the claim has been filed to help cover immediate living expenses and personal property replacement before an adjuster has even been out to the scene.
- Get to a safe area immediately if a fire were to break out and call 911. There are many things you can do prior to a fire breaking out to ensure safety for you and your family, like installing smoke alarms in multiple areas of the home, test smoke alarms every month and change batteries as needed, have an escape plan and practice at least twice a year with family members, have a meeting place outside so that everyone in your family knows where to meet.