Residents evacuated from Calvary Towers in Youngstown

The high-rise apartments were evacuated around 9:45 a.m. for a fire that started on the fourth floor

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – An apartment complex in Youngstown was evacuated Friday morning after a fire inside the building.

Firefighters were called to Calvary Towers at 1840 Market St. around 9:45 a.m. for a fire that started on the fourth floor of the high-rise building.

When residents of Calvary Towers on Market Street first heard alarms go off at 9:45 Friday morning, they didn’t take it seriously.

Herbert Banks says he woke up, thinking the evacuation was a fire drill.

“I didn’t want to get out of bed ’cause I didn’t think nothing of it. My girlfriend and the baby was laying there, so we didn’t think nothing of it,” he said.

After a few minutes, they knew something was wrong.

“She said, ‘Get up and just see.’ So I get up and see people knocking on my door saying, ‘We gotta go, it’s a fire,’” Banks said.

“I heard this dripping, a lot of dripping, coming into my kitchen and I looked over, and it was a lot of water coming down and I was trying to get it up,” Flora Henderson said. “Water was just everywhere. The plaster fell down and everything, and I said, ‘Oh, I gotta get out of here, I’ve gotta get my dog, I’ve gotta go!'”

The fire started in apartment 409, just one floor above Henderson’s apartment.

Youngstown Fire Department Battalion Chief John Lightly says it only took crews ten minutes to put it out.

“Had a quick knock down of the fire when we got access to it. Took about an hour, hour and a half to get all residents evacuated.”

Sheila Brantley, one of the managers at Calvary Towers, says she was impressed by the fire department’s quick response.

“We were able to get everybody out of the apartments. No one was hurt, no injuries, just water and some fire damage,” she said.

Lightly says the department’s swift response is a direct result of training.

“We just recently held training on this at the Oak Hill Renaissance Center, and this is exactly why. About a month ago, we had this training and today it happened.”

The next step for Calvary Tower Apartments is clean-up. Several residents are left wondering if their homes are still livable.

“I don’t know if I’m going to have to leave tonight or what, you know? I don’t know where I would go,” Henderson said.

Brantley says that’s still up in the air.

“I don’t believe they’ll have to be displaced…we’re still assessing that.”

Investigators believe smoking was the cause of the fire.