Columbia’s fire chief has not released names of the two children who were killed in that horrific overnight fire early Wednesday at the Columbia Square apartments.
Fire Chief Clayton Farr tells reporters that one adult and 11 juveniles were inside the apartment when the blaze broke out. Two of the juveniles were killed and three others suffered injuries.
“At this time again out of respect for the privacy of the family, we are not releasing the names of those deceased. Our department continues to work alongside with the Columbia Police Department Investigations Unit on investigating the cause and the origin of the fire,” Farr says.
Chief Farr says the townhome on Claudell lane had an upstairs and a downstairs, adding that there were no working smoke detectors inside the apartment. He’s urging you to get a working smoke alarm.
“If you don’t have a working smoke alarm, contact the Columbia Fire Department and we will get one to you. We will put it up for you and ensure that it works. We want to, again, ensure that every home in our community has a working smoke alarm,” says Farr.
The Columbia Fire Department and CPD’s investigations unit are investigating the cause and origin of the fire, which caused $80,000 in damage.
Columbia’s fire chief also says counselors are available at some Columbia Public Schools (CPS) to assist students and others help mourn the loss of two children killed in the fire.
“I know that the Columbia fire department has a strong working relationship with the (American) Red Cross. And I encourage for community members, Red Cross responds to our emergencies and provides care and comfort to the families in need. And I encourage those who are able to support to consider supporting this organization,” Buffaloe says.
Mayor Buffaloe tells reporters that a CPD officer who ran into the burning townhome and suffered smoke inhalation has been treated and released from a hospital.