Wendy Townsend, 30, was in the kitchen this morning of her third floor apartment. She was washing dishes, but she doesn’t remember the exact time. She looked up at the wall in front of her and saw smoke coming from a place where several tiles had once been. They had fallen down and not been replaced. Townsend is expecting a second baby boy in two days. She said people started banging on the doors of apartments saying: “This fire is real. Get out now.” Her boyfriend, Cliff Hethcoat and their young sons went first. She came down behind them, trying to collect whatever she could, but that wasn’t much. “The smoke and flames were terrifying,” she said.
The fire began when two minor and unsupervised children on the second floor of the building tried to light Morning Glory Fireworks with the electric toaster. It caught on fire and soon a nearby mattress did as well. The Morning Glories were apparently bought at a convenience store on Washington Avenue. A package of 144 of them cost $9.02 according to the store clerk.
Tenants were displaced and the American Red Cross was working with them the and city to find housing for them. No one will be returning to the roughly 22 units in the building tonight.
The building is owned by Sheldon and Heather Ashby of the Eastern Promenade on the Hill. They could not be reached for comment, because they were out of town and not in cell phone range.
Please see Post # 1,132, dated 5/8/12 for more background information on the Ashbys.