By danny restivo
Firefighters had to rescue several people, including a pregnant woman, from a township apartment building set ablaze by overheated grease on a stove.
A woman living on the second floor of the Timberidge Apartment complex on Holly Drive was cooking before she fell asleep after leaving her stove on, said Liberty Fire Chief Michael Durkin.
He said the grease sparked a blaze that quickly engulfed a second-floor apartment and reached a third-floor residence above it.
According to reports, the department received a call for a fire shortly before 4:30 a.m. Monday from a woman who was nine months pregnant. Firefighters rescued seven people who were trapped during the blaze, including the pregnant woman, two adults and a 6-year-old child on the third floor. He said the fire was contained by 4:45 a.m., but the thick smoke in the hallway made it difficult for many residents to leave the building.
“When everyone left their apartments, they left their doors open, causing smoke to build up in the hallways,” Durkin said. “The smoke was the real threat.”
The fire was contained to the second-floor apartment where it originated and the third-floor apartment directly above it, the chief said.
Fire crews used ladders to reach the trapped victims on their third- floor balcony. Everyone was removed safely from the building by 4:50 a.m., Durkin said.
One woman was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation before she was released later Monday, the chief added.
The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to the second and third floor of the building, the chief said. Twelve apartments were heavily damaged, with several of them now boarded up, he added, saying, “Those floors are completely uninhabitable now.”
Durkin said most of the displaced residents are staying with family members, while some were referred to the American Red Cross.