The latest: Nandina resident arrested after apartment burns

A Sweet Home man was arrested after fire destroyed one apartment and damaged another at 1250 Nandina St. Tuesday morning, June 23, at approximately 9:30 a.m.

The fire is suspicious at this point and an investigation is continuing, Sweet Home Police Sgt. Jason Van Eck said.

Police arrested Griffith Blanchard, 54, the occupant of the burning apartment, for disorderly conduct, interfering with a firefighter and resisting arrest. Officers discharged a TASER electronic stun device during the arrest.

The arrest was based on complaints from three or four firefighters, said Officer John Trahan.

Blanchard was booked and charged and then released later in the afternoon.

Fire destroyed apartment number one, in which Blanchard had resided, and damaged apartment number two, with smoke entering at least one unit at Kingwood Apartments directly to the east.

Firefighters arrived to find the first apartment engulfed in flames, Battalion Chief Shannon Pettner said. Number two was not involved but suffered smoke damage, and firefighters cut a hole in the roof to check for spreading fire.

The fire endangered the Kingwood Apartments as well, she said.

“Because it was so close, we considered it an exposure, so we wanted to make sure we got those people out. The shrubs in between were catching fire.”

The east wing of the Kingwood Apartments was evacuated. Police located a sleeping mother and two children in one unit, and Trahan carried one infant out of the smoke-filled apartment, while Officer Randy Gill escorted the mother and her toddler out.

Firefighters knocked the fire down from the exterior and then moved to an interior attack, Pettner said. They also used foam, which helped put the fire down quickly.

Damage to the building was estimated at $50,000 by fire investigators. Damage to contents was estimated at $15,000.

Nineteen firefighters responded with three engines, the aerial truck and two support vehicles.