COLUMBIA – A fire burned through a downstairs unit of a fourplex at Fireside Apartments on Green Meadows Road on Thursday night.
The tenants and their dog, Dusty, were in the building when the fire started but evacuated safely.
Peter Terniatis, a tenant living above the apartment where the fire started, said he heard a scream, smelled smoke and then promptly got his sister, Veronica Hernandez, and roommate, Tim Loyd, out of the building. He said he then proceeded to call 911.
Columbia Fire Department Captain Eric Hartman said heavy flames were coming out of the downstairs window and it took firefighters about 10 to 15 minutes to put out the fire.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it was contained to the downstairs unit’s bedroom, Hartman said.
No one was injured, but the entire building was evacuated to clear out the smoke and assess damage, Hartman said. The apartment had severe fire damage, and the rest of the building had smoke damage, but Hartman said there was not yet an official assessment of property damage.
According to Hartman, it is questionable whether the tenants of the apartment above the unit where the fire began could return Thursday, and that the tenants of the fire-damaged apartment would be displaced indefinitely. Hartman said tenants of the other two apartments would likely be able to return to their homes tonight.
Hartman said responders received a call at 5:08 p.m. and the first truck arrived on scene at 5:13 p.m. A total of five trucks and one ambulance were dispatched and six staff officers were present, Hartman said.