POCATELLO — Pocatello firefighters were able to extinguish fires at two apartment buildings over the weekend.
No one was seriously injured in either of the incidents, but both prompted evacuations and road closures.
The first fire occurred at Collegiate Inn Apartments in the 800 block of South Fourth Avenue around 3:45 p.m. on Saturday.
Travis Smith, assistant chief of operations for the Pocatello Fire Department, said the fire was caused by a malfunction in the wiring leading to a bathroom fan.
Smoke was already engulfing the apartment complex when firefighters arrived on scene. It subsequently took them several minutes to locate the apartment on fire, but they were able to quickly extinguish the flames once they did.
They also rescued a Chihuahua that was in one of the apartments that was filling with smoke.
The dog’s owner, Lana Rowberry, was at work when the incident occurred, but those on scene could hear the animal barking.
Rowberry said firefighters broke down her door in order to get to Taz, who is her service dog, and she’s glad they did.
“He’s my everything,” Rowberry said. “I’m very thankful they rescued him.”
The three-story apartment complex was evacuated because of the fire, but most of the residents have since been able to return home.
Still, not everything has returned to normal.
Rowberry said she was still without some services, including hot water, as of Monday afternoon.
Officials with Collegiate Inn Apartments indicated on Monday that they were working on the issue.
Pocatello Fire Department officials said the first-floor apartment where the fire ignited suffered fire damage and at least two other apartments in the complex sustained smoke damage during the incident.
South Fourth Avenue from East Carter Street to East Terry Street was temporarily shut down on Saturday because of that fire.
The second fire occurred at St. Anthony Place senior citizen apartments on the 600 block of North Seventh Avenue around 8:10 p.m. on Sunday.
Smith said Monday that they are still trying to determine the exact cause of that fire, but they suspect it was started by a malfunctioning medical device. He said an oxygen concentrator may have been responsible.
Pocatello police evacuated St. Anthony Place’s elderly residents on Sunday while firefighters located and extinguished the fire.
The Fire Department reported that a few of St. Anthony Place’s residents were evaluated for possible smoke inhalation, but there were no other injuries.
Smith said the fire only caused minimal damage in a bedroom and a closet.
North Seventh Avenue and other streets in the area of St. Anthony Place were temporarily shut down because of the fire on Sunday.
Following the recent incidents, Smith is reminding people to make sure they properly maintain their medical devices and get them serviced when they need to be. In addition, he urges people to immediately leave the building when they hear a fire alarm, even if they think it is a false alarm.