Person dead, 24 homes burned in North College Hill apartment complex fire

CINCINNATI -- One man died Friday evening following a fire at an apartment complex in Cincinnati's North College Hill neighborhood.

The flames broke out shortly before 5:30 p.m. at a community in the 1500 block of W. Galbraith Road.

Thick smoke poured from the building's third floor, and out through an entrance on the first floor. Assistant Chief Steve Conn of the North College Hill Fire Department said within the building, all 24 apartment units were damaged by smoke and water as crews battled the blaze.

Crews knew they had their work cut out for them, as the fire got a good head start. They battled it for a few minutes, then had to pull out and go into defensive action. They sprayed water from the outside for about 45 minutes so they could work their way back in.

When they returned inside, they realized they were too late. As firefighters worked to make sure every victim was accounted for, they found a man laying in the third floor bedroom.

Crews believe the victim may be the resident of the apartment where the fire started, but they were unable to confirm that Friday evening.

No residents of those 24 units could return home Friday night. Red Cross came out to the fire, and held the victims in a bus to keep warm while determining where they could stay Friday night. 

WCPO reporter Natasha Williams spoke with 20-year-old Keya Gray, a fire victim who lived on the third floor. She lived at the complex for nine months with her two children. Gray said she learned of the fire through a phone call.

"A next door neighbor called me," Gray said. "I had just gotten off work."

She got even more bad news from a sheriff on scene.

"The sheriff told me it was totally inflamed, so my stuff's got to be messed up," Gray said.

There was no information immediately available on the victim's identity,

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Friday night.

 

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