Resident jumps over flames, escapes Centerville apartment fire

Two adjourning buildings in the Diamond View Condominiums complex caught fire late Thursday night./KTVO

Thursday night, at 11:20 p.m., fire crews responded to a call at the Diamond View Condominiums on Park Street in Centerville, Iowa.

They arrived to find heavy smoke and fire conditions coming out of two adjoining buildings.

Centerville Fire Chief Mike Bogle says they tried to save as many people as they could, but unfortunately the fire got to be too big before they could get to two people living in an upstairs unit.

“Once we got the fire contained and under control, we went into salvage and overhaul operations and we began a search, and two victims were located inside one apartment.”

Their victims were taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for identification.

Randy O’Hair had been living in these condominiums for over a year. He was staying in the back building on the ground floor. He told KTVO around 11:15 p.m. he saw what appeared to be an orange light outside his window.

“So I slipped my pants and shirt on and went out the front room, looked out the front window and the flames were blowing by the window,” said O’Hair. “And, at that point, I just opened up the front door and dove across the patio over the railing, rolled out on the grass. Dove through the flames kind of. By that time, the fire was well on its way to destroying two buildings.”

Everyone living in those two buildings, as well as the surrounding condos were forced to evacuate for safety reasons. The American Red Cross gave the residents a debit card with some money and put them up in nearby hotels.

O’Hair is now staying at the Junction Inn Motel in Centerville. He says he’s lost just about everything.

“I got out with pants and my shirt. I didn’t get out with any socks or shoes or phone or anything,” said O’Hair.

And O’Hair is still shaken up.

“Just a pretty rude awakening in the middle of the night,” said O’Hair.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of Thursday night’s fire. The fire marshal was on scene Friday inspecting the damage.

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