At least two people are left without a home after a fire tore through a ground floor apartment on Lockwood Court this afternoon.
Shortly before 2 p.m. Phillip Myers received an urgent phone call at job. He better get home quick, the caller said. His apartment was on fire.
Myers raced to Overlook Club Apartments, 100 Lockwood Court, only to find firefighters dousing his residence with water.
"I'm in shock," a wide-eyed Myers said.
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He moved into unit 219 with his roommate Torey Martin less than a year ago. The pair had bought a roomful of new furniture. By the looks of things, not much of it would be salvageable.
Columbus Fire Investigator Daniel Irions determined the fire was caused by food left unattended on the kitchen stove.
No one was injured in the fire though four other apartments received smoke damage, including the second floor unit occupied by Heidi Rios and her daughter, Alexis. Rios said she smelled the smoke before she saw it slowly filling her apartment. She sent her daughter outside to find its origin. When the 7-year-old opened the front door a wave of black smoke came crashing into their living room.
"I saw the whole room was totally black," Alexis said.
The girl ran outside while her mother scrambled to save the family cat. By the time she found frightened pet, Rios could barely navigate the apartment.
"The whole apartment was just full of smoke," Rios said.
It became clear she needed to get out of the building fast, but the front door was too far away. Rios ran to the living room window and stuck her head out. She then stepped out onto the thin brick ledge and began screaming and crying for help.
"I was ready to jump," she recalled.
Several employees from nearby Aflac grabbed a ladder and ran to her rescue even before emergency responders arrived on the scene. Rios said she believes these men saved her life.
With some help from the Red Cross, the 27-year-old mother said she should be able to find a place for her and her daughter to sleep tonight.
"I don't have nowhere else to go," she said.