April 13, 2013 9:36:35 PM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
A fire sprinkler system contained and quickly extinguished a single-unit fire at The Pointe at MSU apartment complex Friday, Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said.
The apartment suffered light smoke damage, and surrounding units experienced water damage due to the sprinkler system's activation, Rosenhan said, but the damage could have been much worse.
East Oktibbeha County volunteer firefighters were dispatched at approximately 3:48 a.m. Friday to 590 Misty Lee Lane at The Pointe. They found the fire contained upon arrival, but the apartment itself was filled with heavy smoke. A stove is believed to have started the fire, and flames quickly involved cabinets above the cooking area, Rosenhan said.
The second-floor apartment was occupied at the time of the fire, but Rosenhan did not have an exact headcount of how many people were inside the dwelling. No one was injured in the blaze, but residents of that section of The Pointe were displaced for the night while cleanup began.
Firefighters used smoke fans to remove the smoke from the apartment and assisted in cleaning up excess water.
"Water damage is better than fire damage," Rosenhan said.
Apartment complex fires are always a concern for firefighters, Rosenhan said, due to the number of people they house and the ability of fires to quickly spread to closely neighboring structures. Even the logistics of dispatching large fire crews to congested apartment complexes can create nightmare scenarios, he said.
In 2009, nine people died during a fire at the Academy Crossing complex. Two apartment complex fires in April 2010 - one at Campus Trails Apartments and another at Crossgates Apartments - left numerous residents displaced after several buildings burned to the ground. Last year, a housing unit was destroyed at Summer Chase Apartments.
"Those kinds of fires can spread pretty quickly," Rosenhan said. "These are pretty good-sized buildings."
Rosenhan commended the apartment complex's management for having capable fire elimination devices and also for quickly bringing in cleanup crews to ensure residents are able to move back in their dwellings sooner rather than later.
"I want to remind residents to never, ever leave any cooking unattended," he said.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch