Separate Apartment Complex Fires in Iowa Send 2 to Hospital

June 20, 2011

Fires early Sunday at two Cedar Rapids apartment complexes sent two people to hospitals, killed four pets and forced 37 people from their homes, fire officials said.

One resident from each complex was taken to hospitals, said Cedar Rapids Fire Department spokesman Greg Buelow. One was evaluated for exposure to light smoke, and the other was assessed for possible injuries, Buelow said.

Authorities said they arrested a man who lived in one of the apartments after he became unruly.

The first fire around 1:30 a.m. Sunday displaced 11 residents at a two-story, eight-unit complex. Buelow said three residents on the upper floor, including a 9-year-old girl, were preparing to jump to safety from a window when fire crews arrived. Firefighters used a ladder to rescue them.

The blaze was contained to a first-floor apartment, where four people lived. Buelow said a 33-year-old woman was taken to a hospital for possible injuries. Her family’s three dogs and a cat died. The cause of the fire was under investigation Sunday.

The second fire was reported a few hours later at a three-story, 18-unit complex. The fire department said a pan left on a stove caused the blaze. Robert Ware, 34, who lived in the apartment where the fire started, was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and interference with official acts, Buelow said.

Twenty-six residents were forced to evacuate after that fire. Buelow said a 72-year-old woman was taken to a hospital for evaluation after light smoke exposure.

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