Littleton

Fire forces residents to evacuate senior apartment building in Littleton

By Kyle Harding and Chris Rotar
Posted 4/5/16

Residents of a Littleton senior apartment building are awaiting news of when they can return home following an April 6 fire.

Concerns over asbestos found in the building prompted air-quality tests April 7. It was not immediately known when the results would be available and how they would impact the ability of residents to return to Southview Place Towers.

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Littleton

Fire forces residents to evacuate senior apartment building in Littleton

Posted

Residents of a Littleton senior apartment building are awaiting news of when they can return home following an April 6 fire.

Concerns over asbestos found in the building prompted air-quality tests April 7. It was not immediately known when the results would be available and how they would impact the ability of residents to return to Southview Place Towers.

Four residents of the 130-unit building were transported to the hospital for minor injuries and smoke inhalation, according to Tim Woodward, Littleton Fire Rescue training division chief.

"This is a population of older citizens, so they were trapped in their occupancies, many of them couldn't walk out to get help," he said.

Firefighters responded at about 11:30 a.m. April 6 to find a fire on the fourth floor of the five-story building at 5820 S. Windermere St., just south of Littleton Boulevard. The fire spread from the unit it started in to several other apartments, Woodward said. The blaze was under control within about an hour.

Residents said the fourth and fifth floors were filled with smoke. Resident Jo Schaefer said a knock on the door of her apartment alerted her to the fire.

The cause of the fire may not be known until next week, a city spokeswoman said.

After the building was evacuated, many residents were taken to the nearby Littleton Public Schools administration building. Dozens of residents of the 55-and-over community, many of whom no longer drive, were gathered at the facility the afternoon of April 6.

“We’re trying to keep the residents comfortable, providing coffee, water and snacks,” said Diane Leiker, Littleton Public Schools’ communication director.

The American Red Cross was on scene to assist residents.

In the evening, residents were moved from the LPS building to a Red Cross shelter at the nearby Littleton United Methodist Church, 5894 S. Datura St.

“Inspectors are checking all units of the building to ensure that parts of it are safe to reoccupy in the next few days,” a city news release stated.

More than 20 residents stayed at the Red Cross shelter the night of April 6.

Pets were taken to the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley in Littleton.

Woodward said that there was smoke and water damage throughout the top two floors of the apartment building, and the power and water were shut off.

Resident Marilyn Grannell said she was meeting with her book club in the building’s social room when she became aware of the fire.

“It could have been a lot worse,” she said. “There are a lot of seniors here.”

Many of the seniors requested that they be allowed to retrieve medications and other items from their apartments. They were instructed to provide a list to personnel at the school administration building and told the items would be retrieved for them.

Grannell praised the work of the firefighters, police officers and school district personnel, saying they were “just incredible.”

“They brought us water and folding chairs,” she said, “always checking to see if we needed anything.”

 

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