LOGANSPORT — Two separate fires left about 18 people displaced Sunday and Monday mornings.
A structure fire at 1224 Spear St. Monday morning destroyed one apartment in a five-apartment house. A fire Saturday morning gutted two rooms at the back of an eight-person home split into apartments at 1821 Woodlawn Ave. Both fires are believed to be electrical in nature.
There were no injuries in either fire.
The Red Cross responded to both incidents and provided the four children and four adults in Saturday’s fire and the 10 people in Monday’s fire with lodging, groceries, food and clothing.
Logansport Fire Department investigator Jason Miller said the Monday fire occured around 3 a.m. Miller said it appeared there was a failure in an electrical cord belonging to a lamp or box fan. The failure caused the cord to heat up, igniting nearby combustible material before spreading to the rest of the apartment, according to Miller.
The house had working smoke detectors, but the apartment that caught fire did not, Miller said.
While fighting the fire, Miller said, firefighters received changing reports that there may be people trapped inside. Though all of approximately 10 people did make it out, Miller said if residents had been trapped, the fire department would have had a difficult time responding.
“We don’t have enough guys to rescue and put a fire out,” he said.
Logansport Police Chief Mark Strong said seven firefighters, the minimum needed, responded to the fire. He said the low number was due to a number of firefighters on vacation as well as the somewhat decreased number of firefighters at the station in general.
“We’re shorthanded,” Strong said.
In the Saturday fire, which occured at 12:03 a.m., a man had a window air conditioner, surge protector and other equipment all running out of one electrical outlet. The outlet overloaded and caused the surge protector to fail, Miller said.
“It can’t be ruled out as the cause of the fire,” Miller said.
The man woke up and noticed smoke in his room. He woke up the seven other residents of the house, and they evacuated the building.
“There were no working smoke detectors in the home, and they were very lucky that they were all able to get out,” Miller said.
The other rooms of the house suffered minor smoke and heat damage, Miller said.
Miller added that people often overload electrical outlets with fans and other equipment in the warm summer months.
Miller said he expected to see more such incidents with the continued hot weather. Temperatures are expected to reach into the mid-90s today and Wednesday and into the high 80s on Thursday.
“I have a feeling we’ll probably see a few more of those this week with the weather,” Miller said.
• Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.