COLUMBIA — Residents of 1403 Bass Ave. evacuated their homes around 3 a.m. Saturday because of a fire that started on a sofa on their front porch, Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said.
Columbia police found the roof and porch engulfed in flames and were able to extinguish the fire in less than 15 minutes. The fire spread to the attic and front room of the house, Sapp said, but no injuries were reported. *Officials estimated damage to be about $50,000, which included damages to structure and belongings.
Sapp said that a pedestrian reported the fire. Neighbors banged on the back door to alert the home's residents. *Ross Durbin, one of the residents, woke up and smelled smoke. He awakened the rest of his roommates, and they got out of the house safely. Durbin, 21, and his three roommates moved into the house last week.
*Sapp said the house had working smoke detectors in the basement, but firefighters were unable to locate them on the main level.
*The official cause of the fire is still unknown, but Sapp said discarded smoking materials or fireworks are possible causes.
East Campus, which includes Bass Avenue, is an area where many college students live. Sapp said that now is a good time for all students returning to off-campus rental housing to make sure their smoke detectors are installed and working properly. He also said it is important to test smoke detectors monthly and have at least two escape plans ready.