Fire that ripped through 16 apartments in Dayton was accidental, fire department says

DAYTON — The fire that caused the people in 16 apartments to have to find a new place to live was determined to have been an accident, Dayton firefighters said Tuesday.

The occupants of a 16-unit apartment building will all be displaced after a fire broke out and caused significant damage to the building Monday morning.

The American Red Cross provided immediate assistance to the people who were left without a home, and the Monarch Investment and Management Group is actively seeking relocation options, said Dayton Fire Capt. Brad French.

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Crews were called to Woodman Park Apartments in the area of Woodman Drive and U.S. 35 around 9:40 a.m. and reported flames and thick smoke coming from one of the apartment buildings in the complex.

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When fire crews arrived on the scene, firefighters went into a rescue operation and checked apartments to make sure all occupants had evacuated, Dayton Fire District Chief David Wright told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell. Wright said no rescues were needed and all occupants were able to get out.

One person suffered what was described as minor smoke inhalation and was treated at the scene, Wright said. No other injuries were reported by occupants or firefighters battling the blaze.

French said the preliminary damage estimates from the fire were set at $215,000, however it is unclear whether that figure will increase after insurance agents evaluate the damage.

Crews even uncovered a bonus, finding a cat that hid under a bed in one of the hardest-hit apartments and carrying it out to a waiting ambulance to be given oxygen and handed back to its owners.

When firefighters arrived on the scene a “smoke explosion” happened and caused panels to blow out of the back of the structure, Wright said. A smoke explosion happens when a fire heats trapped gasses and smoke, causing those gasses to ignite and explode, Wright explained.

The cause of the blaze is unknown, under investigation, and could take days before a preliminary cause is determined, Wright said. Investigators are talking with witnesses and looking for possible video that would have caught the fire and its progression through the building.

Wright added whatever the cause or source of the blaze it caused the fire to advance through the building rapidly.