Originally created 12/17/05

Flames damage empty apartment



A homeless person might have caused the fire that started in a vacant second-floor apartment on 15th Street on Friday night.

The Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department responded to Cherry Tree Apartments, 1546 15th St., at 7:38 p.m., Capt. Charlie Coleman of the 1st Battalion of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department said.

The fire was contained to one bedroom of the two-bedroom apartment and was started by a mattress that was on fire.

"The fire was put out in two to three minutes, and it didn't impact any of the other occupied units," said Capt. Coleman, who said the occupants of the other apartments in the building were allowed to return to their residences shortly after the fire was contained.

"The apartment was supposed to be vacant, but this time of year you have more of these types of fires because you find a lot of people trying to occupy the vacant buildings and trying to find heat."

Fire was contained to the bedroom. The rest of the apartment was damaged by smoke.

A representative of the Augusta Housing Authority said the brick-frame apartment had electricity and gas and that the heater was running when the fire department arrived.

Engine Company 2 was the first to arrive on the scene, at 7:43 p.m., and was followed by Engine Company 3, Engine Company 11 and Aerial Truck 1.

An arson investigator was called for further investigation.

Reach Korey London at (706) 828-3904 or korey.london@augustachronicle.com.