Balmoral Apartments go up in flames
By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer
Hailey Fire Department resources were
stretched thin by an early Saturday morning fire at the Balmoral
Apartments in Hailey.
With 32 firefighters and seven fire trucks
from the Hailey department and Wood River Fire and Rescue responding,
Ketchum and Bellevue fire departments were put on standby.
Assistant Hailey fire Chief Carl Hjelm said
the fire was called in at 5:34 a.m. Saturday.
He said the cause of the fire is not yet
known, but may be related to a propane heater having been left on in one
of the unfinished apartments. Witnesses reported hearing a "whomp"
and then seeing a sudden effusion of flames, so he suspects a propane tank
When firefighters got to the scene, their
efforts were delayed about 10 minutes because some of the nearby fire
hydrants were not working.
Hjelm said one firefighter was slightly
injured by minor burns and smoke inhalation, but he would not release the
firefighter’s name. The Hailey department is a volunteer organization
except for its full-time chief, Mike Chapman, and Hjelm.
At press time, the fire and the failure of
the fire hydrants were still under investigation.
Hjelm guessed damages would be in the
six-figure range, but an exact figure still had not been assessed. The
damaged units were still under construction but basic wiring and sheetrock
had been installed.
The fire was under control within two
hours, but firefighters remained on the scene for 11 hours.
Construction began on the Balmoral
Apartments last spring. Advertised as affordable housing, the project will
have 192 units.