Apartments evacuated due to fire in Ark City

Firefighters from Arkansas City, Winfield and other communities responded Tuesday morning to a fire at the Windsor Court Apartments, 305 E. Windsor Rd. in Arkansas City.

The fire started in an apartment unit on the second floor but did not spread beyond that.

Arkansas City Fire Chief Bobby Wolfe said firefighters were quickly able to extinguish the fire, which he said was fortunate. In an compartmentalized structure, a fire can spread fast if a door or window is left open. 

Wolfe said he needed to have all available hands on the scene due to the potential danger. He said crews from Udall and Cambridge also responded. 

“Any fire in a high-rise can be significant,” Wolfe said. “Especially when you have non-ambulatory people in there.

According to resident C.J. Layton, the fire started from a stove in second-floor apartment just down the hall from his residence. He said he was walking down the hall when he heard a smoke alarm going off.

“The maintenance guy, Seth Malone was headed that way. He opened the door and we saw smoke coming out, “ Layton said. “He grabbed an extinguisher and starts putting it out, but it was a little too heavy.”

Layton said after realizing that they could not contain the fire, they called the fire department and then began getting people out of the building.

“They were on the scene very quickly,” he said of the fire crews. “They responded extremely well I thought.”

He said all of the residents were evacuated quickly and smoothly.

“The credit really goes to Ruth Bailey, the apartment manager,” he said. “She was just immediately on top of everything.”

Layton said the one apartment would be a mess for a while, but he was glad everyone was safe.

“All’s well that ends well,” he said.

Wolfe estimated a minimum of $2,500 in structure damage and $3,000 in the loss of contents. 

“Cleanup is probably going to be another three or four thousand,” he said.

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