CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral Firefighters and the Lee County Sheriff's Office are trying to determine what started an early morning fire at The Crossings in Cape Coral on Hankcock Pkwy.
Firefighters tell WINK News the fire started around 1:15 a.m. Monday in the breezeway of one of the buildings. There are no reports of damage to the apartment complex or injuries.
The majority of damage was to the breezeway area, but one apartment door received damage when firefighters forced their way in to make sure the fire had not spread into the apartment. The fire was declared under control within moments after arrival and firefighters had the fire out within 20 minutes.
Fire Inspector Dave Rayborn was joined by the State Fire Marshal's Office to conduct the investigation. "We are thinking accidental but the cause remains undetermined and we want to make sure al bases are covered in the investigation," said Rayborn. "We are not ruling anything out but preliminary indications are that this may have been due to careless smoking."
The fire alarm awoke dozens of residents and several families were forced out of their homes during the firefighting effort. Crews used one of the department's ladder trucks to thoroughly check the exterior walls to assure the fire was completely out.
A full damage estimate was not immediately available, but is estimated at $15,000-$20,000 based on the damage. Emergency repairs were completed just before dawn to allow two families back in their apartments. "The Fire Code requires two means of emergency egress for those apartments to be occupied," said Fire Department spokesman Michael Heeder. "In order to comply, temporary repairs had to be made by the property management." Everyone was back in by daybreak and there were no injuries.