Fire chief: 3 dead after Kentucky apartment building blaze

AP News
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Posted: Mar 11, 2016 11:36 AM

WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — A fire destroyed an apartment building in central Kentucky overnight, killing three, injuring at least five and forcing some residents to leap from second-story windows to escape.

Rose Neal woke up around 1 a.m. after hearing a loud boom. She went outside and saw flames shooting from another building in her complex, where her relatives lived with three small children. She found them safe though shaken.

One of them, a toddler, suffered burns to the back of her neck as the family made its desperate escape from the blaze, Neal said.

"It's devastating, it's not what you want to wake up to," she said as she sat surveying the ruins of the charred building Friday morning. "They lost everything. Everything is gone."

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from the windows and out the roof of the two-story structure, which had 10 apartments, said Winchester Fire Chief Cathy Rigney. Some people jumped from second-story windows to get away.

Rigney says two people were found dead on scene and a third died in a hospital. Five more were taken to the hospital by medics, and other injured people drove themselves for treatment. Investigators remained at the scene after daybreak to try to determine the cause.

All those who died were adults, Rigney said.

Keith Edwards, who lives in the building, told WKYT-TV that he awoke just in time because his dog wouldn't stop barking.

"I got up and got to the front room window," he said. "The apartment was full of smoke. Flames were shooting out the side of the apartment and the upper apartments, so. We heard the popping. The next thing we know, the ceiling started coming down. The only way we got out was through the back window in the bedroom."

Andrew Cunningham rushed outside when he saw the firetrucks arrive and saw the building across from him entirely engulfed in flames. He estimated that the flames were 20-feet high. Some of his neighbors were injured; others sat on the ground weeping.