Last updated to add more photos at 2:27 p.m. and tweet + video at 4:39 p.m. Tuesday, March 30:
Some residents evacuated Babcock Place Apartments, 1700 Massachusetts St., Tuesday afternoon as a fire burned on the roof.
The fire call came across emergency radio scanners just before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. Lawrence police tweeted at 1:07 p.m. that the fire was out, but Massachusetts Street was still closed from 16th through 19th streets, and they asked people to detour.
Radio traffic indicated that residents above the fourth floor were being evacuated, while others below were told to shelter in place. Some residents were displaced on the north side of the building for a time.
Tom Fagan, division chief of administration for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, told the Times that there were no reports of injuries, and everyone who needed to made it out of the building safely with the help of firefighters and law enforcement.
He said at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday that all the displaced residents were back inside the building and out of the chilly wind, though they were not necessarily back in their own apartments yet. He said firefighters were checking air quality in those apartments before they would allow people to go back inside them. Fagan was also unsure whether all of the apartments would be habitable for residents.
“Our firefighters did an outstanding job quickly controlling the fire and also working with law enforcement to evacuate the building to get all of the residents to a safe place,” Fagan said. “It was great teamwork amongst the agencies to move a good amount of people outside of the building in an emergency situation.”
Fagan said first responders with Douglas County Emergency Management, University of Kansas Public Safety, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Lawrence Police Department were assisting LDCFM.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation Tuesday afternoon, Fagan said.
People must be age 50 or older to apply to live at Babcock Place, according to the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority’s website.