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bobliocatt

Blaze ruins downtown homes

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By KEN LEWIS

The Times-Union

The firefighters rushed through the blinding smoke Sunday, kicking down doors in a frantic search for two elderly women on the second floor of the building. They had precious moments to save them.

When Jacksonville firefighters Perman Hagans and Brian Tibbetts finally broke into the right room, they found two disoriented, petrified victims.

"I was going to try to assist, but she had a cane and couldn't walk, so I just fireman-carried her," Tibbetts said, using a term for draping one of the victims over his shoulder.

Four elderly Jacksonville residents were hospitalized for smoke-inhalation Sunday after a fire erupted in an old brick apartment building downtown at North Broad and West Beaver streets. Flames were shooting out of a room on the third floor of the building when Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a call at 11:14 a.m.

About 50 police and rescue personnel shut down the intersection and much of the surrounding block through the lunch hour as the residents were saved and the blaze contained.

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18273554.shtml.

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Does anyone have any idea of what will happen to this building? I always though it would be great for a nice loft project, along Broad, once the new courthouse opened. Its also one of the few historic buildings left in LaVilla, so I'd hate to see it torn down for a vacant lot.

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That is sad news for those people. I would like it to be restored as well because it is a neat building in an area of downtown where most life has died out.

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