Oct 262006
 
Authors: Cari Merrill, Emily Polak,

A fire gutted one unit of Stadium Apartments on Thursday and left all residents of the building displaced.

The cause of the blaze was unclear Thursday evening, but fire officials are looking into the possibility the fire may have started after water from the roof seeped into the electrical system.

Firefighters will take the next several days investigating the cause and assessing the damage to the east building of the complex at 2209 W. Elizabeth St.

The resident of the gutted apartment is believed to be a female CSU student who left for class around 10:30 a.m., said Jason Mantas, Poudre Fire Authority spokesman.

All 24 of the building’s units are “unlivable” – one is gutted and the others suffered smoke damage, Mantas said.

One resident was treated for minor smoke inhalation and released at the scene. Two cats died of smoke inhalation.

Around noon, a resident who lives down the hall from the burned apartment pulled the fire alarm and Poudre Fire Authority responded with two fire engines.

“(The fire) was starting to vent out and break out windows” when firefighters arrived on the scene, Mantas said.

The 30 responding firefighters had the blaze under control in less than 10 minutes.

At about 2 p.m., residents were still gathered outside awaiting news from firefighters of when they would be able to return to their damaged apartments.

Residents were only allowed into their apartments Thursday afternoon to retrieve necessary items, such as medications, Mantas said.

Angela Zamora, a junior art major, said she opened her front door and was overwhelmed by black smoke that consumed the hallway.

Zamora, who was getting ready for class, grabbed her backpack and ran outside, leaving her two cats behind.

“I tried to run back and get them but there was too much smoke,” said Zamora, who was also worried about her artwork and photographs. “I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t breathe. I had to get out of there.”

Another resident stood outside in her pajamas, wrapped in a blanket.

Elise Parker was playing video games when she heard someone in the hall yelling “There’s a fire, there’s a fire.”

“I can’t go to work because I have no clothes,” said Parker, who lives with her boyfriend, a CSU student who declined to comment.

“It’s pretty scary,” Zamora said. “It’s different when you’re in the situation and not just watching it happen.”

Staff writers Cari Merrill and Emily Polak can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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