WARRENTON — It started out as a Mother’s Day visit for Joanee Blackler, visiting with her boyfriend’s grandmother at the Columbia Pointe Apartments.

Sunday’s tranquility was disturbed by an apartment fire in which almost a dozen people were displaced and one Warrenton firefighter was hurt.

When Blackler and her boyfriend arrived, she said she knew something wasn’t right.

A neighboring apartment building in the 500 block of Pacific Drive, was putting off smoke.

Moments later, the apartment was engulfed in flames.

“I called 9-1-1,” she said. “There was a little smoke, and then there were flames, and then it was out of control so fast. But it’s an apartment complex, so there were people everywhere. Everyone was running around screaming. There were like 10 people outside when I first got there and then all of a sudden there were 50, then 100.

“Everyone worked as a team.”

She said one man jumped in one of the windows of a lower apartment to make sure no one was inside, while the blaze was carrying on above, before firefighters arrived.

Investigators are sifting through the damaged areas of the apartments after the two-alarm fire. Warrenton firefighter Brian Alsbury was hurt when the ceiling of an apartment unit fell on him.

“He’s OK, and he’s home,” Warrenton Fire Chief Ted Ames said. “At this time, I’m trying to piece things together.”

Alsbury was treated at the scene by Medix ambulance and transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital.

The resident of the apartment was at home at the time of the fire. He got out of the building and was not injured, Ames said.

The cause of the blaze is not known, but Ames said six or seven units in the apartment were severely damaged by fire and/or water. Astoria Fire and Rescue brought a ladder truck to put the fire out. Other local departments stood by at Hammond and Warrenton departments.

Firefighters were dispatched at 6:06 p.m. and the fire was under control at 6:56 p.m.

The Oregon Trail chapter of the American Red Cross provided disaster responders who assisted 11 people displaced by the fire. The team provided emergency assistance for lodging, food, clothing and comfort kits, and health and mental health support.


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