Local Firefighters Battle Two Fires In Less Than 12 Hours

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TEMPLE (April 16, 2014) A apartment building and a Temple home were damaged in two separate fires Tuesday that were reported less than 12 hours apart.

One woman was rescued in the second blaze and was taken to Scott & White Hospital for evaluation, but firefighters said they didn’t believe her injuries were incapacitating.

Units first were sent at about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday to the Carmel Village Apartments, in the 3300 block of H.K. Dodgen Loop, where crews reported smoke coming from an apartment that was being renovated.

Firefighters located and quickly extinguished a small fire inside a kitchen wall, Thomas Pechal, Temple Fire and Rescue spokesman said.

The damage in that blaze was limited to the kitchen and amounted to about $1,000, Pechal said.

The apartment was not occupied and firefighters believe the blaze was accidental and the result of workers using a torch to make plumbing repairs, Pechal said.

No other apartments were damaged.

Then at about 10:15 p.m. fire units were sent to a building at South 49th Street and West Avenue T after a caller reported smoke in the area.

The commander of an engine company sent to the scene immediately upgraded the call to a structure fire when he noticed heavy smoke coming from the roof of a single-story brick veneer house in the 2000 block of South 49th Street, Pechal said.

Firefighters knocked on the door and found an elderly woman inside who said she was not aware that her attic was on fire.

Laverne Hoelscher, 87, was asleep in a back bedroom when the fire started.

She was treated at Scott & White Hospital in Temple and was later released.

Firefighters began an extensive attack on the blaze but were unable to prevent significant fire damage to the attic and heavy smoke, heat and water damage to the rest of the house.

The home is not habitable, Pechal said, and the estimate of property lost is about $50,000.

Investigators have determined the fire was caused by an electrical short In the attic and it has been ruled unintentional, Pechal said.