Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor
Caution tape, boarded windows and smoke-blackened apartments welcomed students returning to their Campus View Village Apartments on Ohio State’s Newark campus after Tuesday night’s fire.
Chase Collier, an undecided first-year at the Newark branch, said the fire consumed two apartments. Collier’s apartment and the one above his were significantly damaged after a cooking accident in Collier’s apartment.
Newark Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Spurgeon said a stove was the cause of the fire.
Collier, who was driving back from a snowboarding trip, said he received calls from concerned friends asking if he was OK. He said he was confused until someone told him about the fire.
“We had to go to the gym for three or four hours,” Collier said. “After that, the Red Cross paid for our hotel.”
In addition to the free hotel stay, the American Red Cross of Licking County provided $110 to each student to purchase essentials, Collier said.
Barbara Collier, Chase’s grandmother, visited after the fire and called her grandson’s apartment a “total loss.”
In all, the fire moved 40 students from their apartments. Of those 40 students, 26 stayed in a hotel for the night.
Ben Stevens, a first-year in fashion retail, said he lost almost everything in his apartment.
“I heard a huge bang,” Stevens said. “The fire (was) up to the ceiling and burned a hole in the floor.”
Stevens said everyone in the complex evacuated before firefighters arrived.
Everything in his apartment was either wet or blackened by smoke, Stevens said.
“It was like walking through fog,” Stevens said.
Stevens’ footwear situation reflected his lack of belongings. After being interviewed, he skidded through the icy, below-freezing apartment parking lot in pink Croc sandals and socks en route to his car.
Spurgeon estimated the fire caused $50,000 in damages, calling the damage “significant.”
The complex is partially uninhabitable and fire officials are unsure when the damaged apartments will be livable again, Spurgeon said. The two-building apartment complex houses students attending OSU’s Newark campus and the Central Ohio Technical College.
Collier said his apartment and the one above it are uninhabitable. He said the damage will displace a total of 14 students for a while.
Despite the fire, Collier said he attended classes on Wednesday. But not before visiting Wal-Mart to buy a notebook and pencils.