The second apartment fire in Oak Ridge since Thursday has displaced another two dozen residents.
The Saturday night fire started at about 9:22 p.m. in the 300 block of Utica Circle at McKenzie Acres. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the second-story blaze, and no one was injured.
But roughly 25 residents, including children, will not be able to return home to the eight-unit building tonight, authorities said. The Red Cross was on its way to Utica Circle to help the residents, who huddled outside in pajamas, coats, gloves, and hats as temperatures dropped to freezing at about 11 p.m. Saturday.
Oak Ridge Fire Department Assistant Chief Josh Waldo said the apartment at 312 Utica Circle was heavily damaged. Other units in the building were okay, except for water damage, he said. Residents will not be able to return because of the smoke and water damage and because the power will be turned off to that building. The power will stay off for several days while repairs are made, Waldo said.
The Saturday night fire was first reported when a neighbor called to say smoke was coming from the building, Waldo said. Firefighters used two lines to extinguish the blaze, Battalion Chief Marty Griffith said. The fire blew out windows and burned the door.
Waldo said the cause is unknown and under investigation.
Early Sunday morning, Waldo said the American Red Cross is helping the families find temporary shelter.
“This was the second apartment fire in Oak Ridge this week,” Waldo said. “Thus, the Red Cross is very busy assisting displaced residents.”
Griffith said about a dozen firefighters responded with three engines, a ladder truck and rescue truck, and other equipment.
An electrical fire at Applewood Apartments on Hillside Road on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, also displaced about two dozen residents. The Red Cross has also been helping them, and local volunteers and restaurants have pitched in by donating food.
The Applewood fire was caused by an electrical short in the main power supply leading into the distribution system in the basement of a building at 184 Hillside Road, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.
Note: This story was last updated at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 1.