Fire destroys M’boro apartment

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2005

MURFREESBORO – A kerosene heater is to blame for a fire that overtook a portion of an apartment building in Murfreesboro Sunday, according to Murfreesboro Fire Chief Billy Deanes.

The blaze, which originated in the residence of tenant Floyd Tann of apartment #5 at 312 Spring Ave Apartments, left approximately $25,000 in fire damage to his apartment and $10,000 in smoke damage to four other adjacent units.

Firefighters responded to the scene shortly after 2:19 p.m. with Como Fire Department offering mutual aid.

&uot;When we arrived, we could see flames coming out the front door and window of the apartment,&uot; Deanes said, believing that the heater was likely overfilled when Tann attempted to light it causing the blaze.

In addition to rendering Tann homeless, neighbors John Overton and Kary Chiott were also displaced.

&uot;They didn’t have any renter’s insurance,&uot; Deanes said, citing the three as the only tenants affected as a result of the fire.

&uot;There were five apartments in the unit, but the other three were unoccupied,&uot; he said, adding that the apartment’s owner, Joe Ferki would likley have to rewire everything.

&uot;Even though the fire was contained primarily to apartment #5, because there was no fire stop between the apartments the smoke damage was pretty extensive,&uot; he said.

Deanes said one saving grace might have been the old plaster dry wall, which was composed of thick horsehair and other fibers, helping it to act as a cement barrier preventing further damage.

Currently, there is no electricity in the building. &uot;Before power can be restored, the electrical inspector has to evaluate everything,&uot; he said.

Although a rescue team was called in to treat Tann for mild smoke inhalation, no injuries resulted from the blaze.

Deanes did not know whether any charges would be rendered as a result of the incident, which may have occurred from a breach of contract between the renter and the property owner.

&uot;From what I understand, the kerosene heater might not have been allowed by the contract,&uot; he said, noting that Ferki, who provides water, sewer and garbage services, already installed heaters in each of the units.

&uot;Like most rental properties, the renter is responsible for furnishing their own fuel, electricity, telephone services etcetera,&uot; he said.

Deanes expressed thanks to the Como Fire Department for their assistance as well as volunteers from his department, specifically Murfreesboro Police Officer/Firefighter Dave Jacobs for his efforts in handling traffic control and making sure everyone was out of the building.

An investigation of the blaze is pending.