Fire at Peabody Apartments caused by oxygen generator, battalion chief says

A fire at Peabody Apartments on Walton Way near downtown Augusta led to an evacuation and some smoke and water damage, but no injuries.
A fire at Peabody Apartments on Walton Way near downtown Augusta led to an evacuation and some smoke and water damage, but no injuries.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- A fire at Peabody Apartments on Walton Way near downtown Augusta led to an evacuation and some smoke and water damage, but no injuries.

Most residents of Peabody Apartments evacuated Sunday morning after a fire in one of the units

“We got a call this morning of a…supposed to have been an oxygen tank on fire in Peabody Apartments.” said Frank Lanier, a battalion chief at the Augusta FIre Department.

He says those tanks pull oxygen out of the surrounding air. One woman said hers sparked and caught on fire this morning when she went to plug it in, Lanier says However, the generator was made of plastic, which produces a lot of acrid smoke.

“We did have a good bit of smoke and water damage,” he said. “And that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing is trying to shift residents away from the smoke so we could get it cleared out and get the water stopped.”

But no one was hurt.

“We evacuated every bit of the east side from ground floor to the ninth. Some of the other ones on the west end of the building, we sheltered in place because there was no smoke…but we decided to do that after we had the fire out,” Lanier said.

Last year at Marshall Square Retirement Community, a fire at another home for the elderly left one dead. Residents at the Peabody Apartments say they are thankful they all got out okay.

“We use precautions here, and we’re encouraged to leave whenever the alarm goes off here,” said Douglas Holland, who lives on the second floor.

Representatives from the Red Cross say the damage in the unit where the fire started, as well as at least two below it,  is bad enough to keep their residents out for at least a few days. The Red Cross says they will give them money for hotel rooms while their homes are repaired.

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