Report: Avalon Oaks Fire Started by Gas Grill

According to New England Cable News, the fire that destroyed an entire apartment building on Avalon Drive was started by a second story gas grill.

According to New England Cable News, the four-alarm fire that has left dozens of Avalon Oaks residents homeless was caused by a gas grill on a second story porch.

Fire Chief Ed Bradbury confirmed the information to the news station on Friday night. Fire crews are likely to be working through the night as they overhaul the building and monitor to make sure no further flames kick up.

"Right now, it's a pretty good idea we had some involvement of a gas grill on the second floor balcony," Bradbury told NECN.

The fire broke out at about 4 p.m. in the midst of the blizzard that is still coming down in Wilmington. The snowy conditions made it difficult for crews fighting the flames, but Lt. John Brown confirmed to Patch on Friday night that no one was injured during the fire.

Red Cross Communications Manager Ashley Studley told Patch that while it's unclear exactly how many residents were displaced by the fire, they have put up 10 adults and 3 children at a hotel for the weekend. They will meet with families after the weekend to assess what their needs are.

Check back with Wilmington Patch for more details as they become available.

JoeC February 09, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Nothing like sparking up the grill on a windy day after a few colds ones.
danimal February 10, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Nothing like going against the regulations from the W.F.D. I hope they rules are changed to NO gas grills in any apartment buildings in the future. good thing we have some great men on our department taking care of the residents in the community. As for the remark above, remeber there are people without a home and belongings right now and you make wise remarks about " a few cold ones." disrespectful in my opinion to these people.
danimal February 10, 2013 at 02:15 AM
though i disagree with the use of a gas grill in this circumstance its a tragedy to those who lost everything and should be commented/acted as such
JoeC February 10, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Well apparently you have a reading comprehension issue. My comment was referring to how foolish it was to light the fire on a windy day. Only someone who had been drinking could be so foolish.
Dan Byer February 11, 2013 at 02:07 PM
It's not just WFD. Many towns ban the use of grills on ANY porches. In some, it's OK if you're using it a certain distance from the structure and there's a stairway to the ground. In any event, there is a statewide ban on the storage or use of propane tanks above the first floor. Yes, this was a tragedy, but an obvious and avoidable one.
INFORMATION February 13, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Just so everyone is clear Avalon Oaks does a sweep often to make sure there are no grills on porches. However some do not listen. Avalon has made it extremely clear that they are not to be used. Avalon also points out that there are many safe grills to use in the park area they provide so that residents are safe. This person did not follow the rules and as a result more than 28 people have lost EVERYTHING
bianca February 13, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Avalon washed their hands quickly. They did not provide any help such as storage space or boxes or anything else. They did not allow people to take their belongins from the building. Their behavior was outrageous. SHAME ON YOU AVALON OAKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
joe February 14, 2013 at 01:16 AM
This is how Avalon Oaks responded to the crisis - bought 5 dozen Dunkin Donuts - bought few jugs of coffee from Dunkin Donuts - bought 24 storage bins from walmart - bought 24 mini flash lights - lied to people about the condition of the building - did not answer to any serious questions but they keep asking "how may I help you" - did not allow people to save portion of their properties - they keep saying the building was not safe because they wanted to get rid of people and because they were running out of donuts. - these guys do not have hearts but donuts - news stations will soon learn about how the management of the complex reacted to this situation
INFORMATION February 14, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Are you kidding me? Avalon oaks did the best they could given what was a weekend, blizzard, and a fire that someone having propane tank caused . The building was a total loss. I feel so bad for all the families. But what is the news station going to report that a fire devistated two buildings and Avalon opened their doors and gave people food and shelter? Took donations from residents. Took the Red Cross three hours to even get here and by the time they did Avalon oaks had the families set up. As for telling them the state of the building no one knew at the time the severe damage. So you want to blame someone blame another person not following the rules to keep everyone safe. Know your facts
joe February 14, 2013 at 05:34 PM
I am not kidding at all. Avalon Oaks did not even plow the access road to the building, no respect or compasion to the residents. Red Cross did their work but Avalon will get charged for not being responsible and their reaction will be examined in the future. No officials were present to talk to people. Inexperienced personnel, incapable to help in this situation. They did not want to help residents to recover stuff. No real expert reports were shown demonstrating the condition of the building. It was very easy for Avalon to say "it is not safe" than to try to help people who could save their properties. Avalon Oaks confiscated many properties in this tragic event. Their use of authority had criminal nature. It is outrageous to find out how bad and irresponsible these bunch of weak cowards treated people in this tragic event. Ask for help if you cannot handle the situation, you are so weak. You will never forget that some people will hate you all their lives for being heartless. Did you have a good hot dinner on Sunday, are you happy with what you ve done. In this event the Avalon Oaks is responsible for 70% of the destruction (loss of properties) and the fire did the rest.
Stacie February 14, 2013 at 07:37 PM
My heart breaks for those residents who lost everything, if Wilmington can help in any way please reach out to me. I took a ride over to Avalon on Sunday night, what a mess down there the roads didn't look very well plowed.
bianca February 14, 2013 at 08:09 PM
There was only water damage on the first floor. It is outrageous what happened! There were old people with undamaged property on the first floor that tried to recover things but Avalon did not allow them do that. People from the building are very angry. On the 2nd and 3rd floors was a lot of fire damage but not on the first floor. Who gave Avalon the authority to do such a thing? Did they provide any official report saying that people from the 1st floor cannot recover their property? How they reached to that conclusion? They called the police on people that were able to recover things! They answered to every serious question by saying "we dont know", "we do not have space", "we cannot do anything" and they ran out quickly proud of themselves!
Jon February 14, 2013 at 10:41 PM
The road was plowed, people were allowed not allowed to get their things on their own in the building because the WFD/building inspector declared it a safety hazard, BUT the fire dept sent in people and escorts in to retrieve items where it was safe. You could see all this from my building in Avalon. also grills are illegal on porches in apt complexes in massachusetts
melanie February 22, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Hi Avalon Oaks, What about some real help? When we asked if we can have the mail back from out mailboxes the reply was "sorry, we cannot do anything". When we asked for some storage space for ~ half of day, the immediate answer was "sorry, we cannot help". When asked about some apartments available for rent the response was "sorry, we cannot do anything". How can you help then????? It is so easy to keep asking "how can we help you" but not to do actually ANYTHING. What about the fire that happened in the same complex about 6 months ahead this one? Did you guys send any explanations to the residents at that time, what measures did you take in order to avoid the same incident???
joe February 25, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Ok Avalon we will see you in court and news soon!
Resident February 27, 2013 at 02:57 AM
I am a resident at this property. My apartment was involved in this and I did lose everything. I have been reading all the comments on this page, and shame on all of you who are sitting here talking badly about Avalon. I was to make it known, Avalon did everything in their power to assist all of us. Some people wanted things that were outrageous, and for that Avalon has to draw the line somewhere. What other property do you know of that would have opened their club house so that the residents could stay warm during the blizzard as their apartment was burning? The red cross came in they were great. They assisted everyone with shelter at a local hotel in Tewksbury. I also want to make it known that AVALON.... not the red cross, AVALON paid to feed all of the residents, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the whole time the residents were at the hotel. Did they have to do that? ABSOLUTELY NOT! In most cases, the landlord would have just been like sorry, bye. They were MORE then helpful during this situation. As for the condition of the building, it was hard to tell how bad it was from the outside. They had no idea by looking no one could. The FIRE CHIEF is the one who says okay, people can go in and get things, or no they can not. We were only allowed 5-10 minutes because the building is/was UNSAFE! It can literally collapse at anytime. Would you want to be in there when that happened? And last but not least, they accommodated everyone with NEW apartments in record time!
bianca March 01, 2013 at 02:47 PM
REALLY??? They did not accommodate me with an apartment! And because I was able to recover MY chairs from the apartment they basically told me they will bring a bulldozer to push those in the woods! How mean was that??? I have pictures to prove that they did not even plow the roads to the building and I have a movie to prove how mean they were with some of the residents. SHAME ON YOU, AVALON OAKS!! The people affected by the fire deserved more than pushing their belongings into the woods. I did not expect an apartment from them but I did expect some respect!
Stacie March 01, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Bianca, I feel so bad for everyone at Avalon especially those who lost everything. I have heard so many stories about Avalon it's not right. If your still looking for housing, there is another apartment complex in Wilmington on West Street and some brand new ones being built on Route 38/Burlington Ave. Good Luck to you : )
bianca March 01, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Thanks Stacie! I have found an apartment and we are actually moving this coming weekend. Thank you for your email and most important, thank you for understanding!


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