Ardmore Fire Department Safety Officer Jason Woydziak said the cause of Tuesday evening’s blaze that tore through a 2nd Avenue NW apartment building has been ruled accidental.
“It was a very hot fire. It appears it started on the balcony. It was an accident. It’s not considered suspicious in any way,” Woydziak said mid-day Wednesday.
Woydziak said while the cause of the fire is not believed to have been intentional, damage estimates surrounding what had once been a single family residence that had been converted into four apartments were still being calculated.
“We don’t have an exact number. At this point, it is anticipated it will be listed as a total loss” he said.
Flames and smoke were reported about 7:45 p.m. Firefighters were on the scene in less than 10 minutes.
Jesus Garza, 44, who had lived in the top right unit of the building for the past two years, told Ardmoreite reporter Tiffany Ditto, he was writing a letter when noticed the window crackling.
“The window was crackling and breaking, and when I looked at the window I saw smoke coming out of the top of it,” Garza said. “I grabbed my backpack, laptop, notepad, and attempted to grab my keys but they were too hot at that point.”
Garza told Ditto the tip of one of his fingers had been burned as a result of the attempt to grab them and forced him to drop them on the floor. Smoke filling the room prevented him from being able to retrieve his keys before he made his escape.
All of the residents of the house were identified and Woydziak said they had escaped without any serious injuries.
Woydziak also confirmed there were also no firefighters injured in the response to the blaze.
The AFD was on the scene for about three hours before declaring the fire out.