A kitchen fire Tuesday night is being blamed for about $100,000 in damage to an apartment building in Beloit.
James Smith is one of nearly 20 residents needing a place to stay after his building caught fire.
Fire fighters were called to Emerson Hall Apartments on Church Street around 5:50 Tuesday night. After everyone got out safely, volunteers from Beloit College came to their aid.
"We went on to the college campus cafeteria. We had juice and sandwiches and so forth," said Smith.
With a number of seniors living in the building, Beloit Fire Chief Bradley Liggett said the building is considered as having high risk occupancy. So they requested help from 14 departments.
"The building is currently without power. It's been declared unfit for human habitation until the power, fire, and sprinkler system is working," said Liggett.
Once the flames were out residents were allowed inside to grab medications and other necessities.
Liggett said the entire building sustained water damage, but most of the smoke damage was contained to the fourth floor.
"The alarm system went off, the sprinkler system worked and everyone evacuated like they were supposed to so that worked out very well," said Liggett.
The fire chief said the fire likely started on a stove. The fire alarm went off there this morning but the chief said contractors accidentally set it off as they were working to restore power to the building.
Smith is thankful to be alive and plans to stay with his niece until it's safe for him and his neighbors to come back into the building.
"God is good. You can always get another TV or a bed. You can't get another body," said Smith.
The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for about 17 people from the building. Liggett estimated residents may be able to return in the next 48 hours.
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