Fire damages Jasper duplex apartment

Marlena Sloss/The Herald

From Local Sources

JASPER — Fire damaged a Jasper duplex apartment Monday.

Units of the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department were called to 425 W. Sixth St. at 3:43 p.m. after a neighbor noticed smoke coming from an upstairs window on one side of the duplex, according to Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang.

The duplex is owned by William Weikert, according to Hochgesang. Gina Neukam had resided in the apartment where the fire originated but was in the process of moving out and was not at the location at the time of the blaze.

Officials were able to determine Neukam had belongings in totes that were on the apartment’s stove. Mattresses and furniture were also in that downstairs area.

The fire apparently started when electric service was turned back on in the unit in preparation for it being cleaned. Hochgesang said the stove had been left on, so when electric service was restored, the totes caught fire and the flames spread to mattresses and nightstands.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to help investigate and, Hochgesang said, the fire was ruled accidental.

Damage was estimated at $50,000.

The fire did not reach the second apartment in the duplex.

West Sixth Street was closed between St. John and Bartley streets during the response.

Four trucks and 22 firefighters were on the scene more than two and a half hours.

The Jasper Police Department assisted, as did a Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services ambulance that was on standby.

There were no injuries.

During the weekend — at 1:53 a.m. Saturday — the department responded to an alarm activation at the Jasper Group facility at 305 E. 12th Ave.

Hochgesang said there was no fire, only a faulty sprinkler system.

Three trucks and 16 firefighters were on the scene 25 minutes.

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