Apartment unit destroyed in fire

Thursday, October 14, 2010 | 4:58 p.m. CDT; updated 5:08 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 14, 2010
Jennifer Banner, right, holds her daughter Taija Shelton, 11, after their apartment building on Demaret Drive burned on Thursday. In the fire, Banner's mother's flame point Siamese cat was killed. She had adopted the cat after her mom died in March. No one was home at the time of the fire, and fire officials said the apartment and its contents were destroyed.

COLUMBIA - A fire burned through a second-floor apartment east of Columbia on Thursday afternoon.

The Boone County Fire Protection District and Columbia Fire Department were dispatched at 1:36 p.m. to 710 Demaret Drive. Boone County Fire Protection District division chief Gale Blomenkamp said 21 people responded to the fire.

He said that the upper right unit of the apartment complex was severely damaged and that all personal belongings were lost. Blomenkamp said no one was in the apartment when the fire began.

Blomenkamp said that heavy flames were coming from the front window and that the fire spread through the living room and kitchen. He said it took about five minutes to put the fire out. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Blomenkamp said.

He said the first floor apartments had water and smoke damage and all the building's occupants were being evacuated because the apartments did not have power or gas.

Blomenkamp said there were no fire alarms sounding in any of the apartments when firefighters arrived on scene. He said the department is investigating the problem.

Jennifer Banner, her boyfriend Joshua Blackwell and her 11-year-old daughter, Taija Shelton, lived in the apartment. Banner said her late mother’s flame point Siamese cat, Pookie, died in the fire.

“Everything I ever worked for was in there,” Banner said.

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