ASHLAND Firefighters averted catastrophe early Sunday morning after quickly knocking down a fire inside an apartment at Scope Towers.

According to Ashland Fire Chief Steve Alley, at around 12:36 a.m. Sunday a fire alarm went off on the second floor of an apartment at Building 2 in Scope. Alley said the occupant was trapped on her balcony as a fire — believed to have been started from smoking a cigarette while on oxygen — ran amok in her bedroom.

Alley said fire crews rescued the woman and quickly snuffed out the fire. As a precaution, the entire building was evacuated. Residents physically unable to leave sheltered in place with crews close by to rescue them if the need should arise.

Alley said the woman was flown to Huntington for smoke inhalation and burns suffered in the blaze.

The chief said the quick thinking on the part of crews “saved us a lot of issues down there.”

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of how well they responded and the good decisions they made,” he said. “With that many people living in there, this could have been a lot worse.”

In addition to Ashland Fire, the following fire departments also assisted: Summit-Ironvile, Cannonsburg, Catlettsburg, Westwood and Russell.

Boyd EMS and Ashland Police were also on scene.

Crews were able to clear the scene at about 3 a.m., allowing residents back inside the building. All fire and smoke damage was largely contained to the apartment in question, Alley said.

Scope Towers are a bit notorious for having minor calls for service, with regular alarms due to folks stuck in elevators or burnt food setting off a fire alarm.

Despite that, Alley said crews always treat any situation with urgency.

“We get calls there all the time, but we’re trained to react as if it’s a major incident,” he said. “That reaction helped us knock this down and avoid problems.”

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