Dallas, TX – A total of 120 firefighters responded to the scene and two of them suffered injuries while battling the flames in the Dallas senior living facility fire that took place on Thursday.
According to the incident report, fire crews were dispatched at the scene to the Serenity Apartments, located in Far East Dallas, on Thursday around 6:30 p.m. The fire spread so fast that a total 120 firefighters had to respond to the scene and battle the flames. Two of them suffered minor injuries and were discharged from hospital after being treated.
The 5-alarm fire completely damaged a large portion of the senior living facility forcing dozens of seniors out of their homes. Majority of them are now living in hotels or with their relatives while expecting help from donors and the city officials.
Jason Evans, spokesman for Dallas Fire-Rescue, later confirmed that the 5-alarm fire at a Dallas senior living facility was caused by an improperly discarded cigarette. According to him, someone tried to put out a cigarette on a balcony railing, but it fell, and the smoldering cigarette started the fire.
“He admitted to using unconventional means, putting the butt out on the wood,” Evans said. “We believe he did not extinguish it fully. It managed to get in the spaces and smolder for a while before it ultimately combusted.”
“Most difficult part is it extended in wall spaces. Any time a fire is hiding in wall spaces, it may not reveal itself as open flame until it is exposed to air,” Evans explained. “A lot of the work with this type of fire is using hand tools to breach through walls and ceiling, and if you ask any firefighter, that is a lot more difficult than holding a hose line.”
Fortunately, most of the residents were already evacuated by the management team even before the firefighters’ arrival and no injuries were reported. By Friday afternoon, they were all able to get into hotels or stay with family members.
The fire department is classifying the fire as accidental, so the resident who started the fire is not expected to face criminal charges.
Elevation Financial Group is still working on long term arrangements for residents while the complex is rebuilt.