Aug. 1—The Saturday night fire that destroyed multiple apartment units and a laundry facility in the 2300 block of Carter Road is still under investigation, officials said Sunday.
Steve Leonard, battalion chief for the Owensboro Fire Department, said the fire started in the laundry facility between two apartment units in the single-story complex between Apollo Court and Cavalcade Drive.
“I don’t want to be premature in saying this, but there was some damage that would indicate that there might have been an explosion based on physical evidence there,” he said. “There was natural gas to that area.”
The laundry facility contained washer and dryer units, what appeared to be a vending machine and a hot water heater.
“There’s a lot of possibilities when you have that many types of possible ignition sources in there,” Leonard said. “If one fails for whatever reason or if you were to have a gas leak … it’s extremely difficult. There’s going to be a lengthy investigation because the goal is to try to narrow it down to exactly what the point of origin was.”
At least four residents were transported Saturday night by emergency medical services. Leonard said the injuries seemed minor and did not appear to be related to burns or smoke inhalation. Most of those in the units were able to self-evacuate.
“That’s the biggest concern any time you have an apartment complex fire — is that you have multiple people using that facility, and of course, sleeping there,” he said. “Fortunately it wasn’t that late at night, so that wasn’t a real concern.”
Units were dispatched to reports of an explosion at the complex at about 8:57 p.m. on Saturday, according to OFD reports.
Initial units at the scene found the fire going through the roof of the apartment complex and extending down the attic area of the alongside the laundry facility, Leonard said.
“We had a large volume of fire to the point that we were actually having to use a large diameter hose and ladder tower operations to suppress that fire,” he said.
It took firefighters about 45 minutes to an hour to suppress it to a “manageable level,” Leonard said. Roughly seven units and four chief officers responded to the scene.
“We were able to dump a lot of resources on that very, very quickly,” he said.
An adjacent complex to the right of the unit that caught fire sustained siding exposure damage.
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