Gainesville Fire Rescue Press Release
Gainesville Fire Rescue responded to a report of smoke coming from the Oak Park High Rise at NE 8th Avenue at 8:00 p.m. last night. The building’s fire alarm system activated and the buildings residents, mostly elderly, began to evacuate as firefighters arrived. The smoke was found to be from a fire in the trash chute systems, where the fire had been contained by the automatic fire sprinkler system. The remaining fire and smoldering debris was moved into a large trash bin and rolled to the outside where it was extinguished completely. The fire and smoke was under control with 10 minutes of GFRs arrival. The 100 or so evacuated residents were permitted to return within the hour with no injuries reported. Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Jeff Lane said of the incident: “The importance of fire sprinklers in these buildings cannot be overstated, what was easily dealt with here today could have been a huge disaster without fire sprinklers and the rapid response from fire rescue.” The fire is not suspicious and may have been started by cigarettes or other smoking material being placed into the chute. The Building is owned by the Gainesville Housing Authority and the damage was estimated to be less than a thousand dollars.