Kitchen fire in Windcrest apartment spreads, destroys entire building

2 people treated for possible smoke inhalation, fire officials say

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter, Tim Stewart - Photojournalist

What started as a kitchen fire in one family’s apartment became a problem for everyone in that Windcrest building Monday morning.

The fire spread, destroying all four units in the 8800 block of Willmon Way and leaving the inhabitants without their homes and belongings.

“I didn't have time to go in and grab anything,” said Megann Hancock. “It was just literally, like, get the dogs and move across the street.”

Hancock said she had just stepped out of the shower when her roommate told her the neighbor’s home at the CrestWind apartments was on fire.

Before she knew it, she said, the flames were headed toward her home.

“When I saw it get to the flames coming out of my room, I was, like, 'I can't watch my apartment burn anymore,'” she said.

According to Chief Dan Kramer with the Windcrest Volunteer Fire Department, the flames spread quickly.

He said soon after his department got the 911 call around 1 a.m. Monday, his first engine had arrived on scene.

However, firefighters had to rely on help from other agencies after they realized the pump on their truck wasn’t working.

“We actually had an equipment failure that led to the fire spreading,” Kramer said. “And when the fire spread, it became out of control for the one engine.”

Kramer said the malfunction is “one of those things that is impossible to predict.”

He said checks on all the equipment are performed daily, and when they last checked the pumps on that truck, they were working.

Prior to the firefighters’ arrival, some of the residents in the apartment where the fire started had tried to put it out with a handheld fire extinguisher.

Two people in that apartment later had to be treated for possible smoke inhalation, Kramer said.

At one point, a section of the building collapsed but firefighters were able to escape injury, he said.

There was no saving any of material possession, though, for Hancock or her neighbors.

Still, she said they will rebuild, thanks to help from the apartment complex and the American Red Cross.

“One day at a time, one thing at a time, to get back,” Hancock said. “That's pretty much all we can do.”

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