01/23/09 — Apartment fire caused by heater

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Apartment fire caused by heater

By Staff Reports
Published in News on January 23, 2009 1:46 PM

Goldsboro Fire Department units responded to an apartment fire at 315 N. Alabama Ave., West Haven Apartments, about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Assistant Fire Chief Eric Lancaster arrived on the scene first and reported heavy smoke showing. The apartments were evacuated. Fire Chief Gary Whaley said officials were concerned about removing evacuees due to the extreme cold but found family members that could take care of them.

The fire was under control within 15 minutes, Whaley said. The Red Cross was called to help the victims and after the smoke was cleared some were able to move directly back into their homes.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a space heater too close to combustibles.

The apartment building was valued at $360,000 and contents $24,000 . Damages were estimated at $45,000 to the structure and $3,000 to the contents.

The Goldsboro Housing Authority secured the apartment that was burned.

Fire units where on the scene for 1 hour and 56 minutes.

The victim's name was Betty Lofton. She said was awakened by the smell of smoke. When she got out of bed she saw flames coming from the wall. She said she immediately called 911 and then got out of the apartment.