Fire chars con­demned apart­ment com­plex

Yuma Sun - - NEWS - BY JAMES GIL­BERT @YSJAMESGILBERT James Gil­bert can be reached at jgilbert@yu­masun.com or 539-6854.

For the fifth time in the past year, fire­fight­ers from the Somer­ton/Co­co­pah Fire Depart­ment were called out to an aban­doned apart­ment com­plex to put out a fire in one of the units.

Fire Chief Paul De Anda said that the fire was re­ported at ap­prox­i­mately 7:33 a.m., Sun­day with fire­fight­ers re­spond­ing to 146 E. Spring in Somer­ton.

When fire­fight­ers ar­rived at the sin­gle-story brick built com­plex, they found heavy flames and smoke show­ing in one of the du­plexes. De Anda said the fire had moved quickly and had al­ready spread to the at­tic.

“The fire was in a du­plex and fully in­volved when we ar­rived. Ev­ery­thing inside was on fire,” De Anda said. “Our guys were able to put it out be­fore it reached the other side.”

The fire was knocked down in ap­prox­i­mately 10 min­utes De Anda said, af­ter which crews re­mained on scene to put out any hot spots and pre­vent any rekin­dling of the fire.

The du­plex apart­ment is one of 15 apart­ments in a small com­plex that had been con­demned. Un­safe liv­ing con­di­tions at the com­plex prompted city of­fi­cials to con­demn the build­ings last year.

De­spite hav­ing been con­demned, the apart­ment was still considered safe enough for fire­fight­ers to en­ter the build­ing and fight the fire from the inside.

De Anda said the cause of all five of the fires at the di­lap­i­dated com­plex is most likely the re­sult of ar­son, be­ing that it is no longer con­nected to elec­tric­ity or nat­u­ral gas. He added that two of the five pre­vi­ous fires hap­pened while apart­ments at the com­plex were still oc­cu­pied.

The Somer­ton Po­lice Depart­ment cur­rently is in­ves­ti­gat­ing and have iden­ti­fied some in­di­vid­u­als of in­ter­est in these fires.

LOANED PHOTO/SOMER­TON/CO­CO­PAH FIRE DEPART­MENT

SOMER­TON/CO­CO­PAH FIRE­FIGHT­ERS RE­SPONDED TO A FIRE IN A DU­PLEX at a con­demned apart­ment com­plex early Sun­day morn­ing. The cause of the fire is be­lieved to have been ar­son and is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Somer­ton po­lice.

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