Fire, flooding cause damage at Paquin Tower

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 | 8:23 a.m. CST; updated 9:05 a.m. CST, Tuesday, March 8, 2011

COLUMBIA — Paquin Tower management worked to clean up the aftermath of a fire sprinkler activation Monday night. The sprinklers quickly extinguished a fourth floor kitchen fire but flooded that floor and the three floors below.

“I came down about 15 minutes after it happened,” resident Jacob Jacobi said. “I heard about it from another resident and I came down to investigate and found this huge puddle of water.” He also noticed ceiling tiles falling down because of the water damage, he added.

At 8:49 p.m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to Paquin Tower, 1201 Paquin St., according to a city news release. Upon arrival, fire crews found the sprinkler system in apartment 408 had extinguished the fire, which had started on the stove. The resident was not in the apartment when the fire started, and investigators determined the fire was caused by unattended cooking, the release stated.

The flooding was contained mostly to the front of the building.

“It was horrible,” Paquin Tower manager Penney Harrington said. “I wasn’t sure how long the water had been running, but it had been running for a while.”

Harrington spent much of the night knocking on the doors of residents to check for water and keying into apartments when no one would answer. She was concerned about mildew in the apartments.

“(Water) was rushing down from the elevator,” Harrington said.

Jacobi said it was the first incident of this kind he had experienced while living at Paquin Tower.

The apartment suffered minor fire and smoke damage in the kitchen, the release stated. There were no injuries, and fire damage was estimated at $10,000.

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