Residents escape, cats rescued from downtown Columbus fire

Four people escaped and three cats were were rescued after a duplex fire Wednesday evening in downtown Columbus.

According to the Columbus Fire Department, they were called to 1000 block of Eighth Street at just before 7 p.m. yesterday after the fire broke out in the rental unit. Everyone had evacuated when firefighters arrived including residents of a neighboring apartment. Firefighters could see fire coming through the roof as they broke through a back door. That’s when they were hit by what they are calling a smoke explosion that caused a blast wave but no one was injured.

Firefighters found heavy fire in a bathroom and began fighting the blaze with water. The fire was so intense that the heat melted the shower fixtures and flames burned through the ceiling and into the attic. It took about 20 minutes to get the fire under control.

A search of the home recovered the three cats, who were lethargic from the smoke. They received oxygen treatment from pet masks carried on all Columbus Fire Department vehicles and after recovering were returned to their owners.

Firefighters say the building was extensively damaged and the families have been displaced. The American Red Cross is providing assistance. Damages are estimated at more than $60,000.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Also assisting at the scene were the Columbus Police Department, Columbus Township Fire Department, Columbus Regional Health medics, Duke Energy and the Salvation Army.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.