• 61°

Fire at Ashley Meadows

No injuries reported; 8 families displaced from damage

COLUMBUS—An early morning fire has displaced 8 families at Ashley Meadows in Columbus Wednesday.

The Columbus Fire Department and all Polk County fire departments as well as the Landrum Fire Department initially responded around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Polk County Rescue Squad, the Polk County EMS, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Emergency Management and American Red Cross also responded.

The fire was in the 200 building and when Columbus firefighters initially responded, an upstairs apartment was fully engulfed and the fire was already blowing through the roof, according to Columbus fire reports.

Columbus Fire Chief Tony Priester said there are 8 families total who had to evacuate. The upper level is burnt and there is a lot of water and smoke damage on the lower level, he said. The adjacent apartment also has some water and smoke damage.

“Everyone got out okay,” Priester said. “They were in the process of getting out when we arrived. Smoke alarms save lives.”

The families affected were taken to the main office at Ashley Meadows, which is a low-income apartment complex adjacent to Polk County High School.

Priester said the fire was blowing through roof when they arrived and had already vented through the back of the roof.

“The main thing is everybody is safe,” Priester said.

The Columbus Fire Department, the Polk County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire.