The blaze occurred at 428 South Mauvaisterre. The Jacksonville Fire Department was paged out at around 5:30 p.m. Fire captain Brian McGee says it started in the living room area of tenant Sue Galieo. He says she had apparently left around 3:00 in the afternoon; no one was in the apartment when it started.
McGee believes the fire began behind a couch, but it’s undetermined what caused it.
“The front apartment, west apartment of the building was fully involved. Flame was coming out of the windows, onto the porch area, we extinguished the fire,” says McGee. “The fire had traveled into the attic; we had to open the attic up and get up there and extinguish it up there as well.”
The fire is not considered suspicious.
Galieo’s apartment was heavily damaged. The dwelling of upstairs neighbor Andrea Marthole suffered heat, smoke and water damage. Marthole’s daughter, Kianna Trotter, says they were able to get out in time.
“We were cleaning the house, and all of a sudden the fire came up the window,” says Trotter. “I ran down the stairs and started coming outside.”
Fortunately for the second downstairs tenant, Matthew Bertram, who lived there with his boyfriend, his apartment did not appear to be seriously damaged by the blaze. Betram says it was still scary.
“I smelt smoke coming out of my bedroom, and by that time, my power and ceiling fan went off, and I ran outside and seen everyone else outside, and I grabbed my little nephew, threw him into my car and took him down the street,” says Betram. “This is a tough time. Never in my life have I ever been to a fire.”
McGee says the apartment manager, Harold Young, arrived on scene at around 8 p.m. The landlord lives in Iowa.
He estimates about $80,000 in damage occurred.
The Red Cross was contacted to help the displaced fire victims.
The house is right next to the Dale Shafer and Sons shop. McGee says that building, as well as the house to the right of the fire-damaged house, were not affected.
We have a Facebook album of the fire here.