The Richmond Register

August 30, 2013

RFD responds to early morning fire in vacant apartment

Wiring and dryer debris to blame

By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — The Richmond Fire Department was dispatched to an apartment complex on Keystone Drive around 3:30 a.m. Friday after a resident reported smelling smoke around the building, according to Assistant Chief Wayne Long.

Within minutes of arriving on scene, firefighters were able to gain control of the fire, which started in the kitchen of a vacant apartment, Long said.

The apartment unit, owned by Foxglove Management in Richmond, appeared to be undergoing renovations for the next occupant, he said.

Upon further investigation, firefighters discovered that the fire started in a compartment above the kitchen cabinets that contained wiring and a dryer vent. Long said it looked as if one of the wires shorted and sparked some dryer lint that had accumulated.

“It’s (lint) like gas to a fire,” he said.

By all appearances, the fire seemed to have been smoldering in the apartment for a while, he said, but because the windows were sealed in the apartment, the lack of oxygen kept flames to a minimum.

The ceiling and kitchen cabinets sustained some fire damage, and the next door apartment received minimal water damage after the firefighters extinguished the flame, he said. The occupants of that unit will be placed in alternative lodging until repairs can be made.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, all residents in the building were evacuated. However, a small amount of smoke had wafted into the neighboring units through the attic, Long said, so fans were set up to vent smoke out of the other units in the one-level apartment building.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.