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January 25, 2013

Fire causes major damage to apartment building

No injuries reported in morning blaze

NEW ALBANY — No one was injured in a fire that destroyed half the units at Cedar Ridge Apartments at 2313 Grant Line Road early Friday morning, New Albany Fire Department officials said.

New Albany Fire Chief Matt Juliot said the complex is a three-story building of 24 units, and that a firewall in the middle of the structure contained the blaze to half the building.

“The firewall did its job,” Juliot said.

He said the 12 apartments in half of the complex were pretty much a total loss, however.

Juliot said firefighters arrived on the scene soon after a 911 call was made to authorities about 4:40 a.m.

He said that the unit where the fire originated has been identified, but the cause or the location in the apartment where the fire started remains undetermined as firefighters were still on the scene about 10:45 a.m.

Juliot said when firefighters arrived to the scene, the fire had already engulfed a large portion of the building.

“The fire was already from the ground and through the roof,” he said.

Juliot said firefighters initially conducted a search-and-rescue effort.

“We went in and made sure all the units were vacated,” he said, adding that some of occupants were assisted out of their homes by firefighters, but that no one was trapped inside the building and needed rescuing.

He said all the residents of the destroyed units were accounted for.

Juliot said a man, who is believed to live in the residence where the fire originated, had attempted to fight the fire with an extinguisher located in hallway of the complex, but the blaze had grown too large. He said the man and his sons had beat on the doors of their neighbors to alert them of the fire.

Within 30 to 35 minutes after their arrival, firefighters had the fire under control, Juliot said, but they continued to perform overhaul and extinguish hot spots in the smoking ruins for several hours.

Juliot said fire personnel will attempt to determine the cause of the fire as the scene is processed.

“We had a complete roof collapse,” he said. “There’s a lot of damage to dig out before determining the cause.”

He said The Salvation Army had already begun efforts to assist those displaced from their homes.

He said those seeking help from The Salvation Army include those whose homes were destroyed in the building and those whose home were not damaged but had the power and gas turned off for safety measures.

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Amy Harpenau is the new director of theater arts at New Albany High School. Harpenau is a 2007 graduate of Floyd Central High School, has appeared on stage at both high schools and worked in theaters since she graduated college.

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