Fire damages Silver Oaks apartments

Jessica Alaimo

A 5 a.m. fire yesterday in Silver Oaks apartments, located across Loop Road from Tri-Towers, had 11 departments respond to the call. There is an estimated $250,000 in damage.

Credit: Beth Rankin

At first, the residents thought it was any other college student making noise outside the Silver Oaks apartment complex at 5 a.m. yesterday — until Sandra Delapa heard the word “fire” and saw her neighbor’s apartment in flames.

Delapa left her apartment and yelled “fire, fire” to warn her neighbors. The group of senior citizens gathered in the complex’s community center while Kent firefighters and trucks from several other departments battled the flames that overtook the roof of the building.

No one was injured. As of 6 p.m. yesterday the cause of the fire was still under investigation, according to a press release from the fire department.

After seeing the damage, April Williams, leasing agent for the complex, speculated that it was started by a telephone wire but could not confirm it.

Other residents said the woman who lived there was a heavy smoker and burned candles, which also could have caused the fire.

Silver Oaks, located off Horning Road, is an apartment complex for senior citizens ages 55 and older.

The woman who owned the apartment said she was in shock and would not comment. Kent Fire Chief Jim Williams said all apartments on the second floor and two apartments on the first floor suffered at least smoke or water damage.

Preliminary damages are estimated to be about $250,000, according to a press release from the fire department.

The Kent Fire Department requested a third alarm, meaning 11 different agencies assisted in putting out the flames, including trucks from Mantua, Rootstown, Stow, Streetsboro and Franklin Township.

April Williams scurried about the community center making coffee for the residents. She said she was woken up by the commotion and went to the building to help people.

Management from Silver Oaks complex would not comment because the fire is still under investigation.

Across the street, Leebrick Hall evacuated when a resident pulled the fire alarm after smelling smoke, according to the Kent State Police Department. Betsy Durst, sophomore technology major whose window overlooks the complex, said she saw the flames outside her 10th-floor window as the alarm was going off. She knocked on her neighbors’ doors letting them know that “this is a real fire.”

Several students from the building called 9-1-1.

No other halls were evacuated, but journalism major Ben Prestien and business major Jason Krouse, both freshmen, said they could smell the smoke from their sixthfloor Wright Hall window.

Contact campus editor Jessica Alaimo at [email protected].