The normally quiet Riverview Apartments were heating up, not from the warmer spring weather, but from a fire in one of the decorative gardens in front of the building. Manager Terri Garcia smelled smoke. She looked around the floors of the building, and wasn’t smelling smoke below the 3rd (ground) floor. She noticed the view out the front door was hazy.

She ran outside and saw the shin-high flames in several spots as the mulch had ignited. She quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher and had someone call 911. The fire extinguisher put out the fire. When the fire crew arrived, the garden was still smoldering. Luckily, a brick barrier helped prevent the flames from spreading to the wooden stairs or other flammable targets. The firemen sprayed down the garden and tore up the deck next to the stairs to make sure the fire was completely out.

There was some damage done to a garbage can, the plastic around a wheel had melted, preventing the can from rolling ever again. The fire was determined to be caused by cigarrete butts thrown into the garden instead of the dispenser located next to the garden. Astute readers will be able to spot the dispenser next to the bench and fire extinguisher in the photo above.

In light of this, and following HUD regulations, Garcia decided to make Riverview a smoke-free lot, including the back driveway and front parking lot. The handful of resident smokers were unhappy with the decision, but safety has to be a high priority. Check out our facebook page to watch the fireman spray down the garden and tear up the deck.