Lacey Epley-Watson with Von Klein Management says the fire marshal believes the fire started because a mini fridge was plugged into an overloaded power strip.
The building is heavily damaged, and all residents at the Campus Twins Apartments on 14th and Hilyard are now looking for a new place to live.
“Von Klein rented everyone motel rooms so we’re staying in there until we figure out what to do,” said resident John Queant.
“I stayed at my friend’s house. I had a lot of friends calling me and asking me if I was okay. They all said I could stay with them, so I just picked a friend,” said resident Samantha DeBenedetti.
The fire broke out at their 40-unit complex on Saturday evening, causing extensive smoke damage.
Although fire officials haven’t released an official cause yet, Von Klein Management says it was told by the fire marshal the fire was accidental.
“That was his theory, that it was due to a mini fridge that was plugged into a power strip being overloaded, which caused a fire. The tenant was not home, unfortunately. Luckily, no one was hurt,” Epley-Watson said.
Residents say it’s unfortunate the fire happened right before the holidays.
“It’s like the worst timing ever. It kind of puts a wrench in holiday plans,” DeBenedetti said.
But they’re trying to look at the positive side of things.
“I was going to head home to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, but I guess I get to see them earlier, which is kind of nice under unfortunate circumstances,” Queant said.
Officials say the damage could cost up to $1 million. Von Klein Property Management says it will have a lot of work to do to get the apartments up and running again.
“The owners are here and I’m pretty sure they do want to restore it, update it. And it’ll be a long process, but I’m pretty sure they’ll get it all rented out next year again for students,” Epley-Watson said.
Epley-Watson says Von Klein is placing some residents in other vacant apartments it owns, some who are already moving in. She says others will be allowed to break their leases and look somewhere else. Some residents will be staying at the Campus Inn again Tuesday night and possibly Wednesday.