Elkton residents temporarily homeless after fire - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Elkton residents temporarily homeless after fire

Fire crews battle Elkton fire Fire crews battle Elkton fire
Salvation Army volunteers at the shelter Salvation Army volunteers at the shelter
Red Cross disaster trailer Red Cross disaster trailer
The room where the fire started The room where the fire started
The Hotel Elkton and Patio Restaurant The Hotel Elkton and Patio Restaurant

Early Monday morning, Quincy firefighters used a ladder to rescue residents from an overnight fire at the Hotel Elkton apartment building in downtown Quincy, but a resident died.

Adams County Coroner James Keller identified the victim as Laura Tournear, 50. Meanwhile, Quincy Police said they're investigating what caused the fire, and while that's underway, all 50 residents who live in the apartment building have been displaced. 

It was a rough start to the new year for Hotel Elkton residents. Many woke up to smoke alarms and firefighters going door to door after a fire broke out early Monday morning.

"They told us we had to evacuate the apartment and we were like what's going on and they were like the apartment has smoke damage and you're going to have to leave," resident Tierra Gibson said.

Fire officials said the fire started just after 1:30 a.m. on the fourth floor. In addition to the death of 50-year-old Laura Tournear, four others were also taken to the hospital.  Building owner Mark Neiswender said two people lived in the apartment that caught fire.

"The fire was contained to one room and smoke throughout the fourth floor," Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning said. "I know there's pretty significant fire damage to the fire room and smoke damage throughout and there's going to be quite a bit of water damage on multiple floors."

Residents stayed inside the Patio restaurant on the ground floor of the building until the Salvation Army took residents to the Quincy Senior Center. The Red Cross then set up a temporary shelter for more than 20 residents that were displaced.

"We're able to provide them with a warm environment and with hot meals," Red Cross volunteer Pat Tortorige said. "We will keep in touch with emergency management and the shelter will be open as long as it's necessary." 

Without access to their rooms, residents like Gibson are scrambling to find the necessities.

"I'm going to ask some family members and friends to help me out," Gibson said. "I'm going to need clothes, I'm going to need like a toothbrush and toothpaste and stuff like that."

Now for many, the shock of losing a friend is setting in.

"It makes me really sad because it's the new year and this is how we bring it in," Gibson added. "I hope it has better in store for us than this."

The Red Cross said they will have the shelter up and running until residents are allowed back into the building. Neiswender said they're working on cleaning up after the fire and fixing alarms, but most residents should be able to move back in on Tuesday. He said the Patio Restaurant is planning to open Tuesday as scheduled.

Adams County Coroner James Keller said he is doing an autopsy Monday afternoon. Police said they're handling the investigation, which they say is typical in deadly fires.

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