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Apartment Fire Aftermath

BUDE – Apartment residents and firefighters continue to dealwith the aftermath of a Saturday fire at Fox Run Apartments in Budeand likely will continue to do so for some time.

“It’s almost as hectic here in the days after than it was thatnight,” said Ray Beard, chief of the volunteer fire department inBude.

Residents must absorb significant property losses and find a wayto move on. Firefighters are looking back to see how to betterfight future fires.

The fire consumed the second floor of Building A, including fourapartments. The four downstairs apartments received some firedamage but less extensively.

Subsequent rains caused water damage to the downstairsapartments.

All apartments in Building A were occupied and, with theexception of one, none of the occupants had renters insurance. TheRed Cross was at the scene Saturday and ensured all displacedresidents had a place to stay that night.

“We are thankful there were no injuries to our residents,” saidLenny Turner, director of Sunbelt Management, which operates FoxRun Apartments. “Buildings can be rebuilt. Lives cannot bereplaced.”

The local community has taken action in response to theincident, said Myra Walters, manager of the Fox Run apartments.

“People and churches are being wonderful,” Walters said. “Theyhave called, given what they could and helped out how theycould.”

Walters said to her knowledge, all displaced residents havefound housing more permanent that what the Red Cross providedSaturday night.

“I think all of them are still right here in Bude,” Walterssaid. “Many have families in the area to stay with.”

For many in Bude, a disaster of this nature is not a familiarexperience. Walters said she had never been involved in a firelarger than an electrical short until Saturday.

Officials believe the blaze began from a grease fire in one ofthe apartment kitchens.

An insurance adjustor inspected the property on Thursday, but noestimate was available as to total damages. Turner expectsrenovations to take months.

Beard recalled what happened on Saturday.

The chief faced grim circumstances even before he received thecall. The Fourth of July holiday weekend had greatly reduced theavailability of his all-volunteer unit.

Beard said that for a structural fire he would typically haveeight to 10 firefighters on scene. At the Fox Run fire, Beardinitially had only four.

His unit arrived on the scene eight minutes after they receivedthe call and the situation only got worse.

“From the minute we got there, it was ‘Katie bar the door,'”Beard said. “It had done got into the walls. The heat was so highup in there, it walked all the way across the roof.”

A volunteer unit from Meadville arrived a few minutes afterBude.

Zetus Volunteer Fire Department President Grady Case said thathis unit from Lincoln County received a request for backup around 5p.m. Zetus arrived at 5:30 p.m.

Ultimately, it took the efforts of Bude, Meadville, EastFranklin, Fire District Five, and Lincoln County’s Zetus, Loyd Starand New Sight volunteer fire departments to control the blaze.

Speaking retrospectively, Beard identified several factors thatundercut firefighting efforts.

“We lost this fire due to lack of manpower, ambient heat andinsufficient equipment on scene,” Beard said.

Beard described Saturday’s 100-degree temperatures before a fireeven broke out. Then he pointed to a ladder melted by the heat ofthe fire.

Beard said his unit receives training twice a year through thestate Fire Academy but plans to look into more frequent and morespecialized training.

“We made every attempt to get ahead of the fire, but it was fornaught,” Beard said. “Fire don’t wait for time.”