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Thursday fire toll was five injured
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Five people, including a 7-year-old boy, were taken to area hospitals after an apartment fire in Hinesville Thursday night.
D’Jari Chipp, 7, was taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, suffering from smoke inhalation according to Fire Investigator Cpt. Rick Perryman of the Hinesville Fire Department. Barbara A. Page, 34, was transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta with burns to her face, arms and chest. The child’s mother, Tenika L. Chipp, 24, was taken to Memorial Health after reportedly jumping from a second floor window and cutting her face, requiring stitches.
Wesley Hall, 61, who lived in the apartment where the fire started was taken to the burn center in Augusta with burns to his face and forehead. A 61-year-old woman, who lived in Hall’s apartment, was taken to Memorial Health and released, according to Perryman.
The fire began in a guest bedroom in a ground floor apartment shortly after 9 p.m. at the city-owned Baytree Apartment complex in the 200 block of Bradwell Street. When Hinesville firefighters arrived, flames could be seen shooting through a downstairs window.
The fire quickly spread through the apartment, causing heavy fire and smoke damage. The second floor apartment sustained heavy smoke damage and the floor was damaged by the searing heat, which caused Tenika Chipp to escape by jumping through a window she was able to open in the rear of the apartment. The child and Page, who were reportedly sleeping, had to be rescued by firefighters who had to carry them out.
Chipp’s uncle, Midway Fire and Rescue Chief Terrell Chip, said his niece and her son were doing fine.
“She is complaining of pain, but otherwise she will be OK. Her son is also doing fine, neither of them was burned.”
It took 18 firefighters about 45 minutes to get the blaze under control. The ground floor apartment was destroyed, Perryman said.
Several residents of the complex were relocated for the evening since water and power were turned off for the investigation. The utilities were repaired by maintenance workers and turned back on Friday, according to officials. The Red Cross also provided assistance to families. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, though Perryman said gas and electrical problems have been ruled out.
He said, “A witness reports that Hall had told people in the area that he was lighting a cigarette and either the lighter exploded or when he was lighting his cigarette the lighter was still lit when he threw it on the bed, though we haven’t had a chance to interview him yet to determine if that is what happened.”
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