Grill Deemed the Source of Dupont Lakes Apartment Fire

By Paula Hinton
By John W. Davis
By Scott Sarvay

July 31, 2011 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 10:52 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewCenter) - Fire investigators say a grill caused a fire early Sunday morning that heavily damaged an apartment complex.

The fire started in the back of a building at the Dupont Lakes Apartment complex around 3 am Sunday morning.

"About that time someone knocked on my door and started yelling fire. Get out," said Dupont Lakes Resident Randy Williams.

The first fire units on the scene noticed flames coming from the roof from more than 1,000 feet away.

The flames were so high they could be seen from Dupont Road.

The blaze took about an hour and 15 minutes to bring under control.

The aftermath, obvious fire, smoke and water damage to half of an apartment building.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for a minor injury.

Randy Williams and dozens of other residents escaped without injuries.

Williams lives a few units away from where the fire started. He explained that his Renters Insurance is a blessing.

"I made it a point. You never know when you're gonna need it but if you don't have it, for ten bucks a month, it's well worth it," Williams said.

"Insurance people told me, you get yourself a room and keep track of all your bills. We'll take care of it for you," continued Williams.
Fire investigators say a stored charcoal grill was being used, illegally, and caused the fire.

Fort Wayne Fire Marshall Jim Murua says, “Grills are not allowed in an apartment setting for this reason, it's an Indiana fire code that they're not allowed to be used on a balcony or within 10 feet of combustibles for that reason.”

The Fort Wayne Fire Department conducts spot checks on apartment complexes to look for grills on balconies.

Per Indiana Fire Code 308.3.1 and 308.3.1.1, the Fort Wayne Fire Department does not allow gas or charcoal grills on balconies, patios or within 10 feet of combustible construction at apartment complexes. Grills may not be present at all – even the small camper type or gas grills with/without the tank removed. Violation of this fire code may not only be subject to a fine, but may also be considered a violation to some apartment leases which can result in the termination of residency.

Being a diligent resident and neighbor is vital to keeping people safe. Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Jim Murua of the Fort Wayne Fire Department asks apartment residents to adhere to the Indiana Fire Codes and report those who do not. “The Indiana Fire Code is written and enforced with the safety and well-being of the residents in mind. It only takes one person to violate the Fire Code, but many will deal with the consequences because fire knows no boundaries, as shown in the Dupont Lakes apartment complex where 33 families were affected by one charcoal grill. Citizens are encouraged to report anyone not in compliance with Indiana law by calling their apartment complex manager or the Fire Prevention Bureau at 427.1479.”

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