The complex is managed by the Housing Authority of Walker County. As the fully-involved structure burned, volunteers from McCollum-Midway, Hay Valley and Parrish responded to the scene to assist Oakman.
“We’re grateful to the other departments for coming out to help us get this under control quickly,” Oakman Fire Chief Shane Calloway said.
All the residents of the apartments were able to escape, although bystanders at the scene said that a family dog was lost in the blaze.
Oakman FD Lt. Officer Joey Johnson was in charge of the scene until the fire was under control at approximately 1:30 p.m.
Firefighters returned to the scene Wednesday night after the building briefly rekindled, but it was quickly extinguished by Oakman FD.
Kevin Fowler, executive director of HAWC, said the unit was a duplex that housed two families and they were being reaccommodated at one of the HAWC’s other developments where there were vacancies.
The other eight units at the location are housed in five separate freestanding buildings. They were inhabited but suffered no damage as firefighters contained the blaze to the original structure. The involved building was consumed by fire and damaged by water and will likely be a total loss for the families and housing authority.
The Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the blaze, but no information was available at press time, as the investigation continued. A spokesman for the agency said it will likely be a day or two before a report pinpointing the cause of the blaze is released.
“We are waiting on them to finish up, then we’ll secure the windows and doors until we get the report to forward to our insurance adjuster,” Fowler said.
In addition to the Oakman complex, the HAWC also operates the James R. Baird, Howard R. Brown and George Averitt apartment complexes in Dora.