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Around 10:30 p.m., fire departments in and around Watertown were called to a fire at the Sunchase senior apartment building, which is near the Watertown airport. The complex has 41 units, which house 43 senior tenants.
On the edge of Watertown, the quiet night was broken by fire alarms, alarms that played an important role in saving lives.
Watertown's Assistant Fire Chief Don Rowland said of the timing of the fire, "Unfortunately, at ten-thirty at night, some people are sleeping, a lot of them were down earlier than that, sometimes when that alarms goes off they don't know what that means, what that sound is"
Firefighters arrived as shocked residents gathered on the lawn, some still scrambling out windows to escape the fire. Those same fire officials were back on the scene Wednesday looking for clues as to how the fire started.
Rowland announced their findings, "The origin of the fire behind me, we found an apartment that basically, it was accidental in nature, with probably an electrical appliance that caused the fire, that's what we determined"
The destruction was obvious in the daylight. Half of the units were destroyed by the fire, many more retaining water damage in the struggle to keep the flames at bay. Rowland emphasized the loss, "It's so tragic and unfortunate that they lost mostly everything here and if they have that opportunity to salvage anything, that would be great"
As residents cope with their losses, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army arrived immediately and are willing to help any way they can. Lieutenant Kenyon Sivels says their organization is built on helping others, "The Salvation Army seeks to help people in need, and those without a home certainly would fall into that category, so we are there to help as much as we can, as long as we need to, as long as we are able to."
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