The firefighters, whose names have not been released, were taken to
Holland Hospital for treatment of neck and back injuries resulting from
the roof collapse. Forty-four residents were displaced from Building D
in the apartment complex as a result of the fire, which broke out
shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, said Capt. Jack Dykstra of the
Holland Public Safety Department.
While the investigation into the fire's cause is ongoing, early
indications are that the fire started when a lit candle fell on a bed in
a second-floor apartment unit. It’s not clear why the resident had the
candle lit, but Dykstra confirmed it was not for heating purposes
related to utility shutoff.
Despite windy and cold conditions, firefighters were able to bring
the flames under control within an half-hour after arrival, although
they remained on the scene several hours afterward for cleanup.
Dykstra says damage from the blaze could have been much worse had it
not been for a firewall in the building that limited its spread.
“The firewall did its job. It contained a lot of the damage to the southern half of the building,” he said.
Volunteers from the Ottawa County chapter of the American Red Cross
were meeting with displaced residents this afternoon in the apartment
office to take an assessment of their needs. The Red Cross also has set
up an emergency shelter at nearby Central Wesleyan Church, where it’s
likely many of them may stay overnight.
“Our facility is available for anyone who’s in need,” said the Rev. Chris Hofland, local impact pastor at Central Wesleyan.
The church had been used as an emergency shelter several weeks
earlier by Red Cross officials after a high winds knocked out power to a
large section of Holland’s south and west sides, Hofland said.
More details on the fire are expected to be released later this afternoon, Dykstra said.
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