Firefighters called to second-floor blaze at Sage Tower

2014-04-22T23:19:00Z 2014-05-05T14:47:05Z Firefighters called to second-floor blaze at Sage TowerGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

Billings Firefighters were called to the scene of a second-floor fire at the Sage Tower Retirement Apartments, 115 N. 24th St., at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

The blaze started in an occupied apartment, and sent one man to to St. Vincent Healthcare with burn injuries. He was later transported to a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah for treatment, according to Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Tatum.

Two people were treated with oxygen at the scene, Fire Chief Paul Dextras said.

At first, flames could be seen roaring inside the apartment, but firefighters were able to get the situation under control quickly.

As firefighters worked to ventilate the building, residents were evacuated. 

Resident Tina Engelhart said she could smell smoke all the way on the 10th floor.

The alarm sent her scrambling to the fire escape, she said, adding that it was "a little scary." 

Dextras said the building houses about 80 people.

Police officers were sent to the top floors and firefighters to the bottom, where they worked towards the middle in order to get everyone to safety.

"It was a great effort by both public agencies, police and fire," Dextras said.

He said they notified Red Cross about finding housing for residents on the second and third floor, as those floors received the most damage. 

Everyone else would be able to return to their apartments, he said.

He said the fire could have been a lot worse, but because of the sprinkler system, the alarm and the quick response time, they were able to contain it. 

Tatum estimated that damage could be between $50,000 and $100,000 because water from the sprinkler system damaged the first floor and basement. The fire damage was contained to the apartment on the second-floor.

Five engines, one ladder truck and the battalion chief, responded to the scene. Several police cruisers, two ambulances and the Billings Fire Mobile Air unit also responded. 

Both the contents of the apartment and the property were insured. 

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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