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Oklahoma City apartment fire injures three

An apartment fire injured three people Thursday in northwest Oklahoma City.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: September 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm •  Published: September 19, 2013

A fire at a northwest Oklahoma City apartment complex early Thursday appears to have started accidentally, a fire spokesman said.

Three people were injured in the four-alarm fire about 4:40 a.m. Thursday at the Ambassador House Apartments, 4607 N Pennsylvania Ave., said Oklahoma City fire Deputy Chief Marc Woodard. Two residents suffered burns and a paramedic for Emergency Medical Services Authority suffered smoke inhalation, Woodard said.

Firefighters were sent out on a report of an accidental fire that started in one of the apartment units. In recent weeks firefighters have been concerned about arson fires in the area of NW 39 and N Pennsylvania Avenue, but no evidence of arson was found at the Ambassador House fire, Woodard said.

Firefighters used a fire truck ladder to rescue three people who were on a balcony, Woodard said.

Residents were evacuated and N Pennsylvania Avenue was closed as crews battled the blaze. Zachary S. Harnden, 17, said he heard people screaming and called 911 when the fire broke out. Harnden, who collects surplus military supplies, said he used a gas mask to keep from inhaling smoke as residents were evacuated.

“I heard someone screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!' I called 911 because I thought someone was being attacked.”

Harnden said he smelled smoke and saw fire as he began to get out of the apartment.

“I grabbed my gas mask because it's a good thing to have during a fire,” he said.

Woodard said 12 apartments were damaged. Eight sustained extensive damage and four other apartments had smoke and water damage. Crews kept the fire from spreading to other apartments, he said.