Black smoke billowed into the skies over Kent around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 2 after a fire broke out at the University Inn on South Water Street.
Kent Fire Capt. Richard Lynn said the fire originated in one of the seventh-floor apartments and was contained to that unit. KFD firefighters used their ladder truck to reach the blaze.
The entire unit suffered fire damage, but because each unit is surrounded by concrete, even nearby apartments escaped water and smoke damage, Kent Fire Lt. Jeff Tyler said.
Firefighters blocked off Water Street and evacuated University Inn residents to the gym inside nearby Trinity Lutheran Church. A text message from Kent State University officials advised residents to avoid the area.
Everyone was cleared to return to their apartments around noon, when Water Street also reopened, Tyler said.
EMS was on scene and transported two individuals for medical evaluation. No firefighters were injured. Fire departments from Ravenna city and township, Rootstown, Stow, Tallmadge and Streetsboro provided mutual aid, Tyler said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The University Inn fire was the second of the day for KFD, acting Fire Chief Jamie Samels said.
Firefighters fielded their first call shortly before 4 a.m. Tuesday when a detached garage at 315 Cherry St., between Walnut and Pine streets, caught fire.
Crews responded from both Kent fire stations to find the garage “fully involved in flames,” Samels said. Though the person occupying the home suffered slight injury, there was no medical transport, he added.
Two cars in the driveway, as well as a nearby garage next door, were also damaged, he said.
Samels described the garage as “a total loss.” Cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Mutual aid was provided by the Brimfield, Tallmadge, Rootstown and Stow fire departments.
Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.