Norwich Township Fire Department investigators are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a building at the Crystal Lake Apartments complex on the south side of Davidson Road, just east of Avery Road, on Saturday morning, July 4.
A 911 call was received at 10:06 a.m., Norwich Township fire Chief Jeff Warren said. Firefighters responded within minutes, he said.
Eighteen people escaped the apartment building on Crystal Ball Drive, and no residents or firefighters were injured, Warren said.
Firefighters and units from Columbus, Upper Arlington and Prairie and Washington townships also responded to the blaze.
Some firefighters staged at the parking lot of Hilliard Davidson High School, across the street from Crystal Lake, to rest and rehydrate between 15-minute shifts, Warren said.
Temperatures reached 90 degrees after 11 a.m. as firefighters continued to spray water on the roof of the building from ladder trucks.
Sarah Hill, a Crystal Lake resident, called 911.
“I couldn’t get close enough (to the building on fire) to see if anyone needed to help,” she said. “It was too hot.”
Minutes later, Hill said, she saw three firefighters run into the building.
“I want to thank the firefighters and first responders,” she said. “I watched them run right into the building. They are not thanked enough, especially today.”
One of the 18 people inside the burning building was Anthony Love, who was asleep in his apartment. His three sons, ages 10, 9 and 2, were inside, too.
Love said he was awakened by the fire equipment.
“I could smell smoke, (and then) the firefighters came to the door,” he said.
Love called the boys’ mother, Amanda Love, who said she had to explain to a police officer the reason she needed to get to Crystal Lake.
Hilliard police officers closed Davidson Road between Avery Road and the railroad tracks east of Crystal Lake while the fire was active.
“The boys are a little shaken up but OK,” said Amanda Love, who said the boys and their father would stay with her.
The American Red Cross would assist others in relocating, Warren said.
Julie Neal, another Crystal Lake resident, said she searched her apartment for the source of the smoke she could smell before realizing it was an adjacent fire.
“It was scary,” she said.
Jay Conley, a resident of Crystal Lake, said he stepped outside after hearing the fire trucks arrive and saw the roof of the building on fire.
“The flames were high out of the roof,” he said.
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