Investigators: Unattended candle cause of three-alarm fire at senior living facility

Investigators: Unattended candle cause of three-alarm fire at senior living facility

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia fire investigators say an unattended candle caused a three-alarm fire Wednesday morning at the Forest Pines Retirement Residence on Devonshire Drive.

Investigators say the fire started in a third-floor room around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The facility holds about 100 residents. 80 were evacuated according to Columbia Fire Chief, Aubrey Jenkins.

Columbia Fire Crews held residents on a mass evacuation truck for them to stay cool in the warm overnight weather. Then they were taken to an indoor facility at King Park in Columbia.

Officials with the retirement residence tell WIS five people were taken to the hospital. Four were treated for smoke inhalation and will be discharged. One suffered burns on her feet and was taken to a burn center in Georgia.

The home's administration is working to get residents back into the apartments that were not damaged by this evening. People who have damaged apartments will be housed in vacant apartments, taken to temporary homes at a sister community in Lexington or placed in a local hotel.

Investigators have not yet released a cause of the fire. Jenkins said the fire caused about $1 million in damage.

The American Red Cross is helping the victims.

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