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Friday, May 20, 2022

Fire damages several apartments at Arbor Park on Friday

<p>An Australian shepherd, Evee, and a Chihuahua, Cookie, wait outside of their apartment building while Gainesville Fire Rescue workers inspect the damage caused by a fire at Arbor Park Apartments on Friday morning.&nbsp;</p>

An Australian shepherd, Evee, and a Chihuahua, Cookie, wait outside of their apartment building while Gainesville Fire Rescue workers inspect the damage caused by a fire at Arbor Park Apartments on Friday morning. 

When Terry Sullivan woke up Friday morning, he was optimistic. He was going to look for a job early in the day and then watch his sister get married.

Sullivan, 28, said he worked as a driver for Nationwide Insurance until he was fired on April 16. On Friday morning, he applied at Mister Paper Office Supply and Molly and Friends Premium Handmade Cat Furniture.

He stopped by his home in Arbor Park apartments, then drove to the courthouse to watch his sister get married. He arrived too late. At about 10:30 a.m., about five minutes after he showed up at the courthouse, Sullivan received a call: His apartment was on fire.

The cause of the fire at 309 SW 16th Ave. was unknown late Friday, said Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Pat Lewis. Two neighbors had to leave their apartments on ladders from their windows, and firefighters rescued several dogs.

Lewis said the department received a call about the fire at about 10 a.m. The Red Cross was called to the complex to help people living in apartments damaged by the fire.

Sullivan said the fire couldn’t have started at the stove. It just couldn’t have. He moved the stove this morning when he dropped a $5 bill, but he double-checked the whole apartment before he left. Electronics, lights, appliances — they were all off, he said.

“I lost everything,” he said, sitting by a curb in the apartment complex. “Baby clothes, my flat-screen TV. I lost everything. It’s kind of hard to explain. … What a bad way to end the week.”

He lived at the apartment with his wife, Danielle, and two sons, but nobody was home when the fire started. Danielle was at work, he said. His 9-month-old was with Terry’s mother, and his 3-year-old was at Sidney Lanier School.

Matthew Horler, 24, stood on the curb near Sullivan on Friday morning wearing a red robe and black sneakers. Horler said he moved into the apartment a few weeks ago.

He works the graveyard shift at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office’s Combined Communications Center, where co-workers often receive calls from people reporting fires like the one at Arbor Park.

He was preparing for bed when he smelled smoke. He checked his kitchen. Nothing. Then, he opened his front door and craned his neck into the hall.

“It was like staring in ink,” he said. “Couldn’t see a thing.”

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He heard fire trucks, so he opened his living room window and yelled. A firefighter came with a ladder.

Tural Akhmedov, a 23-year-old chemistry graduate student at UF, also needed a ladder to escape. He was sleeping when he heard his fire alarm screech Friday morning. He thought it a mistake. He unhooked the alarm and hopped back in bed.

About five minutes later, he said, the alarm went off again. He doesn’t know how. This time, he heard firefighters. He opened his bedroom door and was greeted by thick fog.

Firefighters broke his window and stuck a ladder inside, and he climbed down. Neither Horler nor Akhmedov was injured.

Back on the curb, Sullivan kept thinking about what was gone. No clothes. No money. No food — they just bought groceries, he said.

“I know I didn’t leave the stove on,” he said. “I know I didn’t. I know I didn’t leave the burners on. I know. I know.”

As he sat, Sullivan held the sides of his head. He kept his eyes toward the ground, toward his high-top Chuck Taylors.

They had flames painted on them.

Contact Tyler Jett at tjett@alligator.org.

 

Fire damages several apartments at Arbor Park on Friday

 THE CAUSE IS UNKNOWN.

TYLER JETT

Alligator Staff Writer

When Terry Sullivan woke up Friday morning, he was optimistic. He was going to look for a job early in the day and then watch his sister get married.

Sullivan, 28, said he worked as a driver for Nationwide Insurance until he was fired on April 16. On Friday morning, he applied at Mister Paper Office Supply and Molly and Friends Premium Handmade Cat Furniture.

He stopped by his home in Arbor Park apartments, then drove to the courthouse to watch his sister get married. He arrived too late. At about 10:30 a.m., about five minutes after he showed up at the courthouse, Sullivan received a call: His apartment was on fire.

The cause of the fire at 309 SW 16th Ave. was unknown late Friday, said Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Pat Lewis. Two neighbors had to leave their apartments on ladders from their windows, and firefighters rescued several dogs.

Lewis said the department received a call about the fire at about 10 a.m. The Red Cross was called to the complex to help people living in apartments damaged by the fire.

Sullivan said the fire couldn’t have started at the stove. It just couldn’t have. He moved the stove this morning when he dropped a $5 bill, but he double-checked the whole apartment before he left. Electronics, lights, appliances — they were all off, he said.

“I lost everything,” he said, sitting by a curb in the apartment complex. “Baby clothes, my flat-screen TV. I lost everything. It’s kind of hard to explain. … What a bad way to end the week.”

He lived at the apartment with his wife, Danielle, and two sons, but nobody was home when the fire started. Danielle was at work, he said. His 9-month-old was with Terry’s mother, and his 3-year-old was at Sidney Lanier School.

Matthew Horler, 24, stood on the curb near Sullivan on Friday morning wearing a red robe and black sneakers. Horler said he moved into the apartment a few weeks ago.

He works the graveyard shift at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office’s Combined Communications Center, where co-workers often receive calls from people reporting fires like the one at Arbor Park.

He was preparing for bed when he smelled smoke. He checked his kitchen. Nothing. Then, he opened his front door and craned his neck into the hall.

“It was like staring in ink,” he said. “Couldn’t see a thing.”

He heard fire trucks, so he opened his living room window and yelled. A firefighter came with a ladder.

Tural Akhmedov, a 23-year-old chemistry graduate student at UF, also needed a ladder to escape. He was sleeping when he heard his fire alarm screech Friday morning. He thought it a mistake. He unhooked the alarm and hopped back in bed.

About five minutes later, he said, the alarm went off again. He doesn’t know how. This time, he heard firefighters. He opened his bedroom door and was greeted by thick fog.

Firefighters broke his window and stuck a ladder inside, and he climbed down. Neither Horler nor Akhmedov was injured.

Back on the curb, Sullivan kept thinking about what was gone. No clothes. No money. No food — they just bought groceries, he said.

“I know I didn’t leave the stove on,” he said. “I know I didn’t. I know I didn’t leave the burners on. I know. I know.”

As he sat, Sullivan held the sides of his head. He kept his eyes toward the ground, toward his high-top Chuck Taylors.

They had flames painted on them.

Contact Tyler Jett at tjett@alligator.org.

An Australian shepherd, Evee, and a Chihuahua, Cookie, wait outside of their apartment building while Gainesville Fire Rescue workers inspect the damage caused by a fire at Arbor Park Apartments on Friday morning. 

Gainesville Fire Rescue workers prepare to enter a building at Arbor Park Apartments after a fire Friday morning.

Gainesville Fire Rescue workers rest after putting out a fire at Arbor Park Apartments on Friday morning.

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