Fire blazes at Gentilly Apartment

Anxious excitement erupted at the Gentilly Gardens apartments Friday, Jan. 19, as a sheet of black smoke billowed out from the upstairs windows of apartment no. 3548.

Apartment resident Megan Benton, junior and mass communications major said that she had just finished frying chicken, turned off the stove and was beginning to walk away when flames suddenly leapt from the burner into the air and onto the ceiling. “I don’t know what happened exactly; I cut the grease off, looked back and realized that there was fire,” said Benton.

Benton’s roommate Dana Pinkson, junior and mass communications major said that Benton appeared to have gone into shock. “Megan calmly approached me and told me that there was a fire in the kitchen,” stated Pinkston. “I was not sure if she was being serious or not,” she continued.

However, as the fire raged and the smell worked its way into the nostrils of Pinkston she said she rushed to call 911 and proceeded to enlist the help of the on duty security guards who hurried over to assist.

“Two security guards ran upstairs into the kitchen but their fire extinguisher did not work,” stated Pinkston.

In light of this, she stated that she was happy the New Orleans Fire Department responded quickly and sent several trucks to their rescue. She also stated that since the gates leading to the apartments were locked and that the trucks had to take the first entrance and drive around the school in order to access the fire.

“People laugh when I tell them that the trucks were at the gate and they (firemen) could see the fire but could not get in,” said Pinkston.

Neighbor describes scene

Alcina Walters, junior and international business and Spanish major who lives a few doors down from the affected apartment, said that she first realized the commotion that was taking place when she heard the sirens from the fire trucks.

“It was a very dramatic scene. The smoke was thick and students were running from every direction to see what was happening,” stated Walters.

“I think that the firemen did good work because the fire was out in no time,” she continued.

Benton and Pinkston stated that the only items destroyed in the fire were the stove, cupboards and ceiling but that they were lucky that they did not lose anything else. They have been placed in temporary housing by the dean of resident and campus life, Mr. Daniel Quainoo.

Quainoo stated that an estimation of cost of damage and repair could not be offered at this time since he is awaiting an official report from the fire department.