Lawrence - Around 4:30p.m. firefighters were called to 818 Massachusetts Street after reports of a fire above Pickleman’s. Fire officials say the blaze broke out in the back apartment. The residents who live in the front unit say they came home to find smoke coming out of the closed windows. They say their neighbor was frying catfish when the fire started. None of the residents were injured.
At nearly the same time, multiple routine medical calls came through, needing several ambulances and fire trucks. Fire crews were also needed to respond to fire reports at the Econo Lodge on 6th Street. Officials were forced to call in fire and medical personnel from Johnson County to help out. Chief Mark Bradford says the calls depleted their resources, so they needed to make sure they had available crews in case of another emergency. Bradford says it’s common to call in backup, though on Tuesday none of the fire and medical crews that came into town were needed.
On Tuesday night, the man living inside of the apartment complex that caught fire was without a home. The smoke and water damage prohibited him from going back inside. Fire officials say the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross is providing him and his roommate with a place to live. The residents who live in the other unit were allowed to remain in their apartment.