Cadiz Chief of Police Hollis Alexander reported that there were no residents trapped in the fire or injured.
Resident Renee Coleman said, “I first saw the fire when I was taking some clothes to the laundry. I saw the blinds melting and then heard a boom. There was no fire alarm or nothing.”
Coleman reported that D.J. Imbush, who was visiting his sister and nephew in the building, was responsible for warning her neighbors about the danger of the fire. “He went through the building telling the neighbors and kicked open the doors. D.J. got everyone out.”
Imbush confirmed that no fire alarm alerted the building. “I noticed the bottom apartment was on fire, so I went upstairs, got my nephew and checked the other apartments to get everyone out. The ones that did not answer, I kicked in the door. Nothing went off, no smoke alarms, no fire alarms, nothing. If the fire hadn’t been seen, everyone would have been gone. There were kids in the building. I was not thinking about me.”
Imbush said that his sister had lived at Barkley Manor for five years, and that they had been requesting repairs on the fire alarm.
Another resident of the building, Tiffany Thompson said that she believed that the fire alarm had malfunctioned. “The flappers were pulled and never reset. It’s been like that all winter long, for almost a year. They only fix it when the state inspectors are here.”
Thompson also cited electrical malfunctions in the building. “Every time I use the microwave, it pops and I have to reset the breaker. I feel a tingle when I plugged in the iron. I started ironing in the bedroom so I wouldn’t be electrocuted.”
Phyllis Garland identified herself as part-owner of Barkley Manor and denied any maintenance problems. “As far as I know the alarms were in service. We check them every time we are in the building. Sometimes tenants take the batteries out of the smoke alarms. I can’t say when the last inspection was, but we hold them at least monthly or more often if needed.”
Though Garland at first declined to comment on Thompson’s concerns over electrical problems, she said, “I am not aware of any electrical problems. We check it regularly.”
Barkley Manor Manager Cheryl Hammonds said she was unaware of any electrical problems and that safety equipment was in place and functioning. “I don’t know about the fire alarm not working. The smoke alarms were working at the last inspection.”
Several Trigg County agencies responded to the fire, including EMS, fire departments from Cadiz, East Golden Pond and Montgomery as well as the Cadiz Police, Trigg County Sheriff and the Kentucky State Police. The Pennyrile Electric Co-op also disconnected the building from the power grid, to prevent an electrocution hazard.
A number of residents reported that the fire departments’ arrival was late.
Eyewitness Darren McCraw said that he observed smoke around 2:45 P.M. and believed a tire was burning.
Fellow bystander Crystal Mayers said that she believed that the first truck arrived around 3:30 P.M.
Coleman said, “I am very dissatisfied with the fire department’s response today.”
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.