Fire destroys Unity apartment complex

By Ben Holbrook | Feb 18, 2013

Unity — A fire destroyed an apartment complex on Main Street in Unity on Saturday, Feb. 16, but no one was injured in the blaze.

Unity Fire Chief Dennis Turner said his department responded to 178 Main St. at 10:30 a.m. after a fire started in the building’s boiler room. Turner said three people and a cat on the bottom floor of the building were able to escape without injury.

Turner called for county-wide mutual aid to bring in more equipment and manpower to help battle the fire. One of the challenges for firefighters was the layout of the building, which didn’t allow for easy access to the apartments.

“It used to be an old house that was built in the 1800s, and then it was converted to apartments — mainly for college students,” Turner said.

The fire spread from the boiler room to a barn and then into the apartments, Turner said. Although the exact cause of the fire was unknown, the building’s owner, Ralph Nathan, told Turner he was having trouble with the furnace.

“It’s almost impossible to pinpoint an exact cause,” Turner said. “There was so much damage done."

Crews were on scene until 7 p.m., Turner said, and were in the process of putting their equipment away when one of the firefighters went back to the scene and reported the fire had reignited in some places.

Crews went back to the apartment complex and extinguished a few areas where a small fire had started, Turner said. He said the hot spots were reignited by the wind.

The building, which was a total loss, was insured, Turner said.

No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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