Investigators: Smoking caused Coatesville fire

A photo of Friday morning's Coatesville apartment fire sent in by Action News viewer Kelly Stein.
September 10, 2010 3:50:36 PM PDT
Seven firefighters were hurt and some 150 people were forced from their homes in a massive blaze at a Chester County apartment complex.

According to state and county investigators, the cause of the fire was accidental and due to careless smoking.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Millville Development on the 1800 block of Saginaw Drive in Coatesville around 12:49 a.m. Friday.

When they arrived they found flames pouring out of the buildings that house 28 units.

At least 150 residents are affected by the fire. One building at the complex collapsed.

It took more than an hour to bring the fire under control.

The firefighters' injuries range from burns and broken bones to smoke inhalation.

The two most seriously injured were trapped in a stairwell when the roof collapsed.

The Coatesville fire chief tells Action News that one firefighter underwent surgery for a fractured leg and burns.

A second firefighter may also need surgery for burns and a fractured wrist.

Five other firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.

There are no reports of injuries to any apartment residents.

Resident Kevin Burns saw it all after he fled his apartment in the middle of the night.

"I ran out in my pajamas and saw the whole building was on fire. We started knocking on people's doors, getting them out. I started taking video once everyone was out and the firemen showed up," Burns said.

While this fire is deemed accidental, Coatesville was the target of dozens of arsons in 2007 and 2008.

The owner of the complex is said to have many vacant apartments and is in the process of relocating the victims.


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