A fireman was injured Monday night when a ceiling collapsed on him while he was battling a blaze intentionally set by an arsonist inside an empty apartment building.
The McMinnville fireman was taken to River Park Hospital for treatment of noncritical injuries. He was battling a fire inside a vacant unit at Skyline Apartments.
“He was inside working on hot spots when a section of ceiling tile collapsed,” said McMinnville Fire Chief Randy Walker of the late-night fire. “We had him looked at as a precautionary measure and he was treated and released.”
The fire which led to the incident was intentionally set, according to McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton, who said the blaze is under investigation.
The apartment complex, aside from a couple of apartments in the front, is abandoned and has no electricity running to most units. Investigators found evidence someone had been trying to light fires inside the apartment where the blaze erupted.
The apartment was in flames when firemen arrived just before midnight. The fire gutted the apartment where it began and left smoke and water damage to an adjacent apartment.
The apartment complex has connecting roofing meaning any fire could quickly spread.
Since a fireman was injured, the crime being investigated is aggravated arson, which carries a longer jail sentence should a suspect be charged and prosecuted.