Apartment fire kills one, leaves one in critical condition; two firemen injured

A fire at Crossgates Apartment Complex early Sunday morning claimed the life of a local woman, sent a man to the hospital in critical condition and left two Demopolis firefighters injured.

“We did have one fatality in the apartment. Two young boys were rescued out of the apartment,” Demopolis Fire Department Chief Tommy Tate confirmed. “We also have one in critical condition, the older male subject that was in the apartment also. Two of our firemen, one was treated and released and the other one had some smoke inhalation. He’s in Birmingham. I think he is going to be OK but he had some burns around his facial area.”

The Demopolis Fire Department received the call at 12:46 a.m. The Demopolis Police Department was already on scene.

“There was a young boy who heard the screams. One of the young boys got out of the apartment and then somebody that was just a bystander was able to run in and rescue the other boy out,” Tate said. “Our two (firefighters) were injured trying to rescue the other two out of that room.”

Demopolis Police Department officers transported the severely injured resident by patrol car to Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

“Along with the fire department, several of our officers went in to try to get the person out of the house too, but the fire was too intense,” Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese said.

Tate explained that the firefighter receiving treatment in Birmingham was in the process of trying to rescue on the inhabitants of the apartment when he had his mask knocked off, noting that the fireman suffered smoke inhalation and burns around his face. The other fireman sustained burns through his protective gear.

“We don’t have many house fires but they are some of the highest risk things because they are so unpredictable with what is going to happen,” Tate said. “They did what they had to do. I wish the outcome would have been a little bit better for the adults in that.”

The state fire marshal was called to help with the investigation.