Tenants: Sprinkler that put out Freeport fire flooded apartments, knocked out electricity
Tenants say a sprinkler that went off to knock out a small fire in a Freeport apartment building caused flooding and forced them out of their homes early Tuesday.
The fire happened around 8 a.m. at the corner of Merrick Road and Buffalo Avenue.
Executive Director of the Freeport Housing Authority John Hrvatie says the fire started in a bedroom where a mattress caught fire. He says there was no fire damage, but significant water damage was caused due to the sprinkler system.
Hrvatie says around 30 of the 100 units sustained water damage, triggering the electricity to shut off and making it unsafe to stay in the building.
Vicki Gordon says she received a call at work that she had to leave because her apartment was flooded.
“When I left this morning, my apartment was fine just like most of these people,” Gordon says. “And this is an ongoing thing in this apartment building…everything’s falling apart.”
She was one of hundreds who were forced out of the affordable housing complex.
Cliff Baylor also says he had to take off work and it was “very frustrating” and “aggravating.”
Despite the tenants’ complaints, Hrvatie says all the precautions were taken in the correct manner.
“The sprinklers worked exactly the way they’re supposed to work,” Hrvatie says. “It put the fire out.”
The Red Cross says it is working to find housing for anyone who needs it.