By Gale Rose
The cause of a fire that gutted a bedroom in an apartment complex on the north side of Pratt early Tuesday morning is still undetermined.
Firefighters were called to the 800 block of Walnut to the Walnut Grove apartments at 1:12 a.m. and found fire shooting out a bedroom window on the west side of Apartment 23, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.
The female occupant of the apartment escaped the fire without injury but not before she had put herself in danger.
Joey Dill was staying in apartment 24 next door to the fire. He said he heard the fire then someone knocked on the apartment door and told them the apartment next door was on fire.
Dill said he left the apartment and saw the female resident of the burning apartment run back into the apartment. Dill ran in after her but he was overcome by smoke and staggered out of the apartment and leaned up against a light post as he fought off the effects of the smoke.
Another person who lived in the complex saw what happened, ran into the burning apartment and carried the resident outside, Dill said.
Neither the rescuer nor the resident were injured in the rescue.
Kramer said the resident woke up and didn't hear her fan running then saw the fire and ran out of the building. Just as she decided to go back into the building Dill saw her and attempted his rescue.
Dill recovered from the smoke quickly then he knocked on the apartment door on the other side of the fire and got those residents out as well.
Mary Duran lives in apartment 21 in the same unit and said she smelled smoke, got up, put on a robe and was headed outside when someone knocked on her door. She also got out without incident.
Firefighters quickly knocked the fire down and were able to keep the fire from spreading to the other three apartments in the unit.
When firefighters arrived, smoke was pouring from the roof and the fire had burned through the wallboard on the ceiling. But the fire had not spread through the ceiling and into the roof, Kramer said.
"We were a little concerned the whole place would go up," Kramer said.
The bedroom was completely gutted but the fire was contained to that room. The rest of the apartment suffered from heat and smoke damage. The other apartments in the complex also suffered smoke damage.
The origin of the fire was just north of the bedroom window inside the house. It could have been a fan but the fan was so badly damage it was difficult to tell if it was the cause of the fire, Kramer said.
Page 2 of 2 - The resident told Kramer she was a smoker and that could be a cause as well but there wasn't enough evidence either way to determine a cause of the fire, Kramer said.