AMES FIRE: Tenants Displaced After Fire
An apartment fire in Ames displaced residents and kept firefighters at the scene for hours Sunday.
Firefighters responded to the South Meadow Apartments on S. Fifth Street in Ames for a fire around 5:45 Sunday morning.
The fire started in a garage underneath the 56-unit building, engulfed the exterior wall, reached the roof of the building and continued to spread.
All of the tenants were evacuated and no injuries were reported.
Firefighters said the fire was hard to fight because the complex is an older building and didn’t have all the fire safety features found in newer buildings.
“The fire was into the attic area they kept chasing the fire trying to get ahead of it but there’s no fire stops in the attic which allowed the fire to run the whole length of the attic. We could just never keep up with the fire it just kept getting ahead of us every time we tried to make a stop,” says Capt. Rich Higgins with the Ames Fire Department.
Both fire stops and sprinkler systems weren’t required when the complex was built.
Without those the fire was unstoppable, leaving a path of destruction behind.
Firefighters had residents choose a handful of items crews could quickly grab from the remains of their apartment.
Trish Erickson choose her pet chinchilla.
“I had to leave her and it took me this long to come and get her and I’m so glad she’s safe,” says Erickson.
Erickson along with many of the other residents now has to pick up the pieces left behind.
“I’m scared because it’s like I have to start all over,” says Erickson.
Displaced residents are being assisted by the Red Cross, who set up a temporary processing station at the Boys and Girls Club across the street.
Iowa State University is also helping many of the residents by providing temporary housing on campus.