More than 90 apartments damaged in Lebanon senior apartment complex fire

LEBANON, Pa. - Firefighters from across Lebanon County battle a fire at a Lebanon senior apartment complex Tuesday afternoon. It left nearly 100 people living there out of their homes.

Firefighters say this was a tough fire to battle, not because of the fire itself but because of thick black smoke that took over about 90 apartments at Willows Senior Apartments. Firefighters believe the fire started from a light fixture on a second floor balcony.

A policeman was nearby, saw the black smoke and called for help. Firefighters say it was an unusual call because there is an automatic sprinkler system inside the building and it did go off as the black smoke made its way into the apartments.

“The only way you can really combat something like this is if you had a 100 firemen show up at once," said Dwayne Trautman, Lebanon City fire commissioner. "Instead you had our usually 6 and an officer.”

Several people were taken to the hospital but were not suffering from any fire-related injuries. All are expected to be okay. The rest of the people living in the complex have been taken to a shelter. All power has been shut off at the complex. No word on when people will be allowed to go back inside.

The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter for approximately 35 people displaced. The shelter is located at the Salvation Army building at 1031 Guilford St. in Lebanon.