Four apartments lost in fire on MLK Drive

Published 3:44 pm Monday, October 29, 2018


Four families were left without their homes early this week when fire destroyed a four-unit apartment building on MLK Drive in Batesville. There were no reported injuries to residents or fireman, according to Fire Chief Tim Taylor.

The four displaced fami- lies have temporary shelter and local groups, including the American Red Cross, have stepped in to help.

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The apartments burned early Sunday, about 1 a.m. Taylor said the build-

ing, a one-story structure, was completely involved when fireman arrived and there was no hope of saving any part. “It was burning through the roof when our men pulled up,” he said.

It was building number 17 in the most southern part of Country Village Apartments that burned

Built in the late 1970s before modern building codes were in place, the four apartments shared a common attic, something that is not allowed by current standards. It’s is unclear whether the apartments had working smoke alarms, and Taylor said state fire investigators are still gathering information. It is believe the fire started near a furnace, but no determination can be made until final reports are filed.

Taylor said all city residents should check their houses’ heating systems as cold weather approaches. “Be sure to watch where you place space heaters,” he said.

A four apartment building built now would be required to have a sprinkler system and a two-hour firewall extending to the roof line between each residence. “When it’s put up right, you would be surprised how well Sheetrock works to stop fire

from spreading when it’s the fire-rated kind,” Taylor said.

Buildings with approved safety code construction are much less likely to be total losses in cases of fire, he said. “It gives us a better chance of saving what we can when you have things like firewalls and Sheetrock put in right. It keeps the fire in and keeps in from spreading. Once fire gets to the roof and spreads there’s usually nothing we can do.”