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Fire damages Cochran Apartments on Waldron

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A fire that was believed to have started by a propane grill heavily damaged two units of the Cochran Apartments at 621 Waldron St. late Friday (Sept. 18).


The Purdue Fire Department was dispatched around 10:30 p.m. and was on-scene until about 3 a.m., said assistant fire Chief Kevin Clark. The West Lafayette Fire Department responded, as well.

According to Mike Koppes, Purdue’s director of fire protection engineering, it appears the fire spread from a grill on a second-floor balcony into the living room of the adjoining unit. When the fuel line to the propane failed, flames shot up to the third floor and heavily damaged the apartment above. The fire was contained to the two apartments and an attic above, Koppes said. He said the roof above the third-floor apartment was heavily damaged, as well.

The apartment complex has a basement and three floors, and 22 units. Clark said about 10 of the units received smoke or water damage.

All 87 people living in the complex were evacuated, and there were no injuries, said Carol Shelby, senior director of public safety. Purdue had been arranging for temporary housing in residence halls for the displaced students, but all had made their own arrangements, she said.

Koppes said the complex’s owner had brought in a company to secure the property early Saturday morning.

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