By FRANK PHILLIPS
Cooper Towers residents in Brazil received a surprise wake-up call late Sunday night.
A 12:30 this morning, fire was reported in the second floor lounge. The cause remains undetermined. The State Fire Marshal is on the scene today.
Fire Chief Tobey Archer said five people in the building were transported to St. Vincent Clay Hospital with smoke inhalation and one of the five were transported on to Regional Hospital in serious condition. As many as three of the five injured people were children. There are 82 residents in Cooper Towers.
"Some residents were trapped on the second floor," Archer said. "We had to wear masks ourselves.
"We used a fire extinguisher to get rid of flames when we got to the second floor."
All residents were evacuated from Cooper Towers but were soon back in their apartments, except residents of the second floor. Those residents were offered alternate housing by the Red Cross and it is hoped the second floor residents will be able to return to their apartments this evening.
The second floor fire alarm has to be repaired and there is extensive smoke damage to the hallway, Archer said. One apartment received water damaged while the fire was being extinguished.
The fire was contained in an hour.
"The (firefighters) did an outstanding job," Archer said. "We were on the scene within two minutes after receiving the call."
The Brazil Fire Department went over the building last year, planning a strategy in case fire ever broke out in the building and the department recently completed training elevators to determine how to best evacuate residents, should the need arise as it did last night.