(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Officials are investigating a fire which resulted in the total loss of an apartment building Thursday.
"The initial call time was 1:42 p.m.," said Lt. Ken Dicus of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety. "Officers were on the scene all night and are still on the scene at this time." At the peak of the firefight, DPS had two aerial ladders units and two pumpers at the scene, Dicus said.
The apartment building, which is located at 122 West Kathleen and has formerly been known Kay Apartments, has eight apartment units. DPS officials at this point do not know how many people lived at the apartment building.
"That's one of the things we'll be trying to track down today to complete our paperwork on it," Dicus said.
Boyce and Pamela Church of Cape Girardeau, who have owned the building since 1997 according to the Scott County Assessor's records, were unavailable for comment as of presstime.
Lt. Rickey Rapert of DPS interviewed Boyce Church at the scene.
"What he told me is they had received a complaint from one of the occupants about air conditioning problems and that he had his service people come in to look at it and they were there working on air conditioning systems to make repairs," Rapert said. "While they were there working on the system, one of the repairmen working on the system went out to get a tool from the van and noticed smoke coming from a vent pipe on the roof. After seeing that he believed there was a fire somewhere in the structure and they dialed 911 to report the incident."
Upon arriving at the scene, DPS officers believed there was fire in the attic area, Rapert said.
(Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, however.
The Missouri State Fire Marshal was called in to assist with the investigation as that is the standard policy for any fire in a high occupancy structure, according to Rapert.
One minor injury -- smoke inhalation -- was reported by a resident. "She was not transported, she was treated at the scene," Dicus said.
There was also one firefighter treated for heat exhaustion, according to Dicus.
The Churches and Church Enterprises also own Virginia Pines Apartments and about a dozen other properties in Sikeston according to Scott County records for 2006. The Churches also recently purchased J.D.'s in Miner which they renamed 55 North Bar and Grill.