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Fire at Okabena Towers; eight tenants displaced

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Fire Department was paged at 3:35 a.m. Wednesday in response to a fire at Okabena Towers. Jeff McNickle, building manager, said he received a call from the alarm company stating that the fire alarms were going off. ...

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A portion of Worthington's Okabena Towers is shown Wednesday. (Tim Middagh/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Fire Department was paged at 3:35 a.m. Wednesday in response to a fire at Okabena Towers.

Jeff McNickle, building manager, said he received a call from the alarm company stating that the fire alarms were going off.

“The Worthington Police Department and the Worthington Fire Department were dispatched because it was shown that there was a fire on the second floor,” McNickle said.

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“I didn't know what was really going on,” said tenant Sandy Marsh, 62. “Then we got out and we saw the flames.”

Worthington Fire Chief Rick von Holdt said the cause of the fire has yet to be determined. He said he thinks a woman who lives in the apartment where the fire originated had fallen asleep while a cigarette was lit.

Three residents were taken to Sanford Worthington Medical Center, but none were seriously injured.

“The fire inspector and the fire marshal are coming tomorrow to inspect the apartment, so I will have a definite cause from them,” McNickle said.

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Most of the tenants were able to exit the apartment building prior to the department’s arrival.

McNickle said five apartments located on the east wing of the building have significant damage.

“We had damage in the second floor and the three surrounding apartments have water damage,” McNickle said.

“It could have been worse because there are a lot of us that have oxygen tanks,” Marsh added of many of the building’s fellow tenants.

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McNickle said it will be at least four days until tenants are able to move in back to their apartments.

“I have inspectors and also a clean-up crew coming in (today), so it depends how fast they can get things done,” said McNickle.

Edan Marsh, 93, was removed from the building by the firefighters since she has difficulty walking.

“I had really good help going out of my apartment; I couldn't take my walker with me,” she said.

McNickle said that eight tenants were displaced because of the damage on their apartments.


“The Red Cross came and placed the majority of them in a local hotel and a lot of them had family to stay with,” McNickle said.

Related Topics: FIRES
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