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July 8, 2014

Couple rescued from downtown fire

200 block of West Main Street

RICHMOND — Two people were taken to the hospital Tuesday afternoon after being trapped briefly when a deck near their apartment in downtown Richmond caught fire.

Firefighters were called at 2:56, said Fire Chief Buzzy Campbell, who was the first to arrive at the scene. Fire Station 1 is less than four blocks from the fire.

Campbell said “really heavy flames” were coming from behind the building that fronts on the 200 block of West Main Street, and “the wind wasn’t helping.”

The wind was blowing the flames into the windows on the building’s top floor, he said.

Apartments occupy the upper floor of the building that houses the MexiHollywood restaurant on the ground floor.

Campbell said “nothing happened to the restaurant” as the flames were contained to the top floor.

The fire mostly burned a rear deck outside the building’s upper floor and damaged the structure’s exterior, the fire chief said.

Firefighters forced their way into a second-floor apartment to save a man and woman who didn’t want to come out because they didn’t know where the fire was, Campbell said.

Firefighters safely removed the couple, and they were transported to Baptist Health as a precaution, Campbell said.

After removing the apartment occupants, firefighters managed to “knock the fire down on the deck” and get it under control.

Dale Emmons, whose wife’s law firm is next to the restaurant building, said he wasn’t at his office two doors down when the fire took place, but said the law office building suffered some smoke and water damage.

The law office will be able to stay open, but the condo above it “is a little more problematic,” Emmons said, because it suffered heavier smoke and water damage. However, it was not deemed unfit for occupancy, he said.

The fire department posted red “Condemned” signs on the restaurant building and the old J.C. Penny building on its west side.

Around 5 p.m. Tuesday, Campbell said it was too early to say what caused the fire or to assess the extent of damage.

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