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Six floors flooded by sprinklers in apartment

Posted at 9:57 AM, May 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 01:51:56-04
A huge mess at a downtown apartment complex following a fire this morning. The Tucson Fire Department says the fire started when one resident was heating oil over the stove. The blaze only damaged one unit but the sprinklers flooded six floors. The water caused so much damage at the Redondo Towers the building was evacuated and two units are now unlivable.
 
In about 20 minute the sprinkler system released enough water to flood six floors at the complex downtown. Clean up crews spent most of Mother's Day tearing out carpet, sweeping up debris and sucking up water.
 
Judy Dare has been living at the complex for about seven years. She says most of the residents had no clue what was going on.
 
"I looked down there and pretty soon one of the large ceiling tiles fell to the floor," said Dare. "It was dripping here it was coming toward my apartment."
 
Dare's apartment on the fifth floor had minor damage compared to two units that couldn't be salvaged. 
 
"I could see the water dripping down. I could feel on the side of the wall that it was seeping down inside. Then when I walked into the bathroom and saw that it was dripping down through the vent."
 
Many residents weren't home at the time.
 
"She had a dog, she was not home, the fire department was able to force the door open and rescue the dog."
 
The water damage was so bad that some tenants feared the worst. 
 
"I just didn't know whether the whole ceiling would collapse.I thought 'I don't need to walk out in the hall because one of the tiles will fall on my head."'
 
Once the sprinklers turned on, most of the building was evacuated and the electricity was shut off. The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents.