Fre displaces several apartment residents

Nov. 14—ANDERSON — Several residents of Steeplechase Apartments have been displaced as a result of a Sunday fire.

The fire started in an upstairs apartment on the northside of one of several buildings at 814 W. 53rd St. It was reported about 3:45 a.m.

When firefighters arrived, flames were showing through the roof, and the blaze was upgraded to a two-alarm fire, said Anderson Fire Chief Dave Cravens. According to him:

Firefighters were at the scene about four hours. Damage was estimated at $400,000.

A 72-year-old male resident was transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation.

"The firefighters worked extremely hard in the cold weather, led by Battalion Chief Jason Borner and Assistant Battalion Chief Kenny Williams."

Rita Brinker has lived at the apartment complex for 15 years and has been unable to enter the building to check the expected water damage.

"I was sleeping and kept hearing noises," she said Monday. "Then somebody was beating on the door. The two upstairs tenants were sitting on the stairs and said there was a fire."

She said building manager Terry Lindsay called the fire department and started knocking on doors to get everyone out.

"Once it started, there was no stopping it," said Brinker, who is living with her sister.

Her car got fire debris on it, which was covered by ice Sunday.

Lindsay, who has been property manager for 11 years, said it was the first fire at the complex during that time.

"There was smoke in the hallway," he said Monday, recalling when the fire was reported to him early the day before. "It just went from there."

Lindsay said the six apartments on the north side of the building are a total loss, with water damage in the remaining 12 units.

"We're working with the Red Cross," he said. "The complex is full, so there are no available units to move people into."

Lindsay said some tenants went to stay with relatives while several were taken to a local hotel.

He said the owner intends to repair the building.

"We're hoping to be able to turn the utilities on to some of the units," Lindsay said. "In six units (on the south side), there is only minor water damage."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.