Apartment fire in Cape Girardeau displaces 12

Friday, June 22, 2012
Members of the Cape Girardeau Fire Department work to put out hot spots from an apartment fire Thursday morning, June 21, 2012. An apartment building in the Lynwood Hills apartment complex received major damage from the morning fire. Fire crews from Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Scott City were on scene to contain the fire. (Laura Simon)

A fire Thursday morning at the Lynwood Hills apartment complex in Cape Girardeau has left a dozen people displaced.

Firefighters from Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Scott City responded to the fire, which began shortly before 9 a.m. on the balcony of a second-floor apartment in building 2764.

All residents involved were evacuated from the building without injuries, said Mark Starnes, Cape Girardeau Fire Department battalion chief. Eight firetrucks and about 25 firefighters were at the scene.

Tyler Bierschwal was asleep in his apartment when the fire started on his balcony.

Apartment manager Dalton Wyatt saw the fire from the parking lot and came to Bierschwal's apartment, woke him up and helped him and other residents out.

"This man is a hero, he saved my life," Bierschwal said, putting his arm around Wyatt in the parking lot.

The fire quickly progressed to the attic of the apartment complex, Starnes said. Crews had the fire under control by about 9:45 a.m., five to 10 minutes after they arrived.

While the fire is still under investigation, a news release from the Cape Girardeau Fire Department points toward improper disposal of smoldering material as a possible cause for the fire. At this point, Starnes said, the fire is not considered suspicious.

Sara Gerau of the Southeast Missouri chapter of the American Red Cross said her organization invited displaced residents to the American Red Cross office where they would undergo a case assessment and be offered food and water. Staff from Lynwood Baptist Church also provided drinks to the residents at the scene.

The Red Cross was also on scene to offer assistance to firefighters, Gerau said.

No firefighters were injured, though the high temperatures made it a challenge to keep them cool and well hydrated, Starnes said.

Crews remained on the scene for about four hours after arrival to investigate the fire and search for hot spots. Investigators from the Missouri state fire marshal's office were on the scene.

It isn't clear how many apartments in the 10-unit building were damaged by the fire, Wyatt said. Damage was estimated at about $300,000. Some units were unoccupied and some residents were not home at the time.

Lynwood Hills Apartments owner Mike Smith said the people whose units were damaged in the fire will be relocated to other empty units in the complex.

rovermann@semissourian.com

388-3688

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

2764 Lynwood Hills Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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