Apartment fire contained to mattress

Barnwell municipal firefighters have handled several fires in the last two weeks, but the average volume of fire calls has been somewhat lower than normal, said Barnwell Fire Chief Tony Dicks.

Since December, the city fire department has responded to 84 calls, which averages to about 1.78 calls a day, he said.

The department normally averages about 170 to 180 calls in the same amount of time, or about 2.1 calls a day, Dicks said.

However, the year is still young and hasn't gotten to the drier summer months when brush fires are more prevalent and the colder winter months when house fires more likely occur, he said.

A fire caused some minor scorching and smoke damage at a Barnwell apartment complex April 30.

The Barnwell Fire Department received a fire call at about 11 a.m. about a fire with entrapment at 345 Litchfield St. at the Litchfield Apartments behind the Wal-Mart shopping plaza on Dunbarton Boulevard.

However, there was no one had been trapped in the building, Dicks.

The fire was contained to a mattress which had been pulled into the upstairs hallway, he said.

Someone had tried to put out the fire before the firefighters came, Dicks said.

"The water spigot in the bathtub was running when we got there," he said.

Also a cooking pot was in the floor near the mattress, which firefighters later pulled outside. Evidently someone had used the pot to dash water on the mattress, he said.

The mattress had been burned down to its springs and metal wire frame. Firefighters propped open the second story windows with boards and a fireaxe and had a fan in the doorway to vent the smoke.

The resident, Angel Smalls, had fainted outside the apartment, Dicks said.

Smalls was given oxygen and taken by ambulance for treatment.

"I feel sure it was an accident," Dicks said.

An unrelated car fire April 28 also caused some damage to nearby buildings. The cause of this fire is still being investigated, Dicks said.

City firefighters were called to 7740 Marlboro Ave. in the Marlboro Estates mobile home park about a car fire.

An older model Chevrolet Camaro caught fire and the fire spread to the mobile home on lot 2 at the park. The car belongs to Jesus Villalovos, who also lives in the mobile home, said Dicks.

The car, which was being restored, was parked within two feet of the mobile home, he said.

What caused the fire is still unclear because Villalovos had not been working on it that day and the engine battery was not connected, Dicks said.

"We brought in the Barnwell police to investigate," he said. "We don't know if some juveniles were playing inside the car with matches."

The fire caused some minor damage inside the mobile home, exposing some electrical wiring. The family had to stay out of the residence for one night, he said.

A mobile home on nearby lot 3 suffered some minor damage too as some vinyl siding melted, he said.