Firefighters with Columbus Fire and Rescue investigate a smoke-filled apartment downtown. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
February 2, 2018 10:41:56 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Just before rush hour Thursday, fire engines from Columbus Fire and Rescue filled Fifth Street between Main and College streets to investigate a smoke-filled apartment downtown.
Business owners and employees poked their heads out of nearby businesses as firefighters unrolled hoses and rushed to the upstairs apartment of 115 Fifth St. N. at about 3:45 p.m. to clear the smoke from the building and check for a fire.
No one was in the home when it filled with smoke. Resident Waymon Bilbrey said he had come home from work and was walking up the stairs to his apartment when he smelled something burning.
"(When I got to the apartment) I saw how smoke-filled the room was and I ran out and called 911," he said.
Bilbrey, who lives in the upstairs apartment alone, said he never saw any flames.
CFR Public Information Officer Anthony Colom said while firefighters never found any fire, and that the smoke was from an extension cord that ran under the floor to the vacant business, Events on Fifth, below. The only damage to the actual apartment was confined to a small square of the floor.
Onlookers who had stepped out of nearby businesses all said they could hear firefighters apparently drilling under the floor to get at the source of the smoke.
"There were people everywhere," said one Bride and Groom employee who didn't want to be named. "As soon as it started happening, people just started showing up and watching."
Bubba Huckaby, the owner of Huck's Restaurant, said he stood outside his business watching the firefighters for about 45 minutes after he first heard the sirens.
"Everyone's been saying different things (about the cause)," he added.
Firefighters stayed at the scene for about 90 minutes, Colom said. No injuries were reported.
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