Lubbock Fire Rescue responded to a 911 call about a fire at Ventura Place retirement community off of 54th St and Gary Avenue at around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Rose Killebrew, a resident at Ventura Place, recalled the confusion many of the residents felt. “Of course, I didn’t know what was happening, I just heard the siren go off. So, I went to the door and everybody was leaving…”
Workers at Ventura Place helped gather the residents outside of the building, giving them shade and water while they waited for assistance. One resident was taken to the hospital with minor smoke inhalation. Fortunately, the building’s sprinkler system had contained the fire before it was able to spread. Around 140 residents were evacuated during the fire. One woman was taken to the hospital and treated for slight smoke inhalation.
The Emergency Medical Task Force 1 bus was called to the scene as a precaution and to assist the residents. Officials took residents to the Lubbock Seventh-Day Adventist Church and asked families of the residents to come pick them up. Kevin Ivy with Lubbock Fire Rescue talked about where the fire started.
“Crews found a fire that had been on the third story outside balcony. It appears to have started at that point… we’re not exactly sure yet. But upon arrival, it was out or controlled due to the sprinkler system.” Bobbye Maxey was at the retirement community to pick up her father who lives there.
“Administrators let us know that they were asking all of the residents to call their family if they had some family to come and pick them up. They are going to take them to a church next door, I’m not sure what’s after that but I was told they can’t go back into Ventura simply because of the flooding that went on from the sprinklers.”
After a quick call to management on Wednesday evening, they told KCBD that residents in the first and second floor have been allowed to return.
No timetable has been established yet as to when the third floor residents can return. The Lubbock Fire Marshal’s office is still investigating the cause of the fire.