Candle the culprit? Maybe not

Officials have yet to determine apartment fire’s cause

Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Firefighters change their oxygen tanks Feb. 13 while fighting a fire at 408 E. 3rd Sreet in Sterling.

STERLING – A candle may not be to blame for an apartment building fire after all.

On Feb. 13, firefighters responded to a blaze at 406 E. Third St. that started in the third-floor apartment rented by Lakeisha Herring, 26.

A spokeswoman from the state fire marshal’s office said Thursday that investigators have yet to determine the fire’s cause.

When it started, Herring was at work at McDonald’s, but her mother and her children were inside the complex. Herring showed up shortly after firefighters arrived.

With tears streaming down her cheeks, Herring said at the time that she had left a candle burning after she went to work. She thought it caused the fire.

But Herring, who has a new residence in Sterling, said Thursday she no longer thinks that’s the case.

“I thought it was candles. I figured that was the only thing it could have been. But my mother said [afterward] that she had blown the candles out. I didn’t talk to my mother when I got to the fire,” she said.

She now thinks the fire was electrical in nature, or might have started with a mattress pressed up against a heater.

Olyvia McCombs, the apartment manager, said most of the building’s tenants were back in their homes within a couple of days.

It took her more than a week to get back, though, because of water damage. Her apartment was below Herring’s, which was gutted.

The fire appears to have started in the middle of Herring’s bedroom floor, McCombs said, adding that the landlord, who is from Chicago, is looking for a contractor to fix the building.

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