Fire destroys St. Joseph apartment building

A two-alarm fire that began from a cigarette butt destroyed a St. Joseph apartment building early today.

According to the St. Joseph News-Press, one man had to jump from a second-story window of the eight-unit complex at 5502 Beechwood Boulevard. The man apparently was not injured in the jump.

The apartment complex was a total loss estimated at about $200,000, the News-Press said.

According to Rob Blizzard, a fire inspector with the St. Joseph Fire Department, the fire started when a resident tossed a cigarette butt in a bucket beside his upstairs apartment.

Apparently the wind picked up the cigarette and lodged it between a deck post and the siding, the News-Press said, starting the blaze. From there, the fire raced up the side of the building, under the eaves and into the attic.

About 15 residents escaped from the building, the News-Press said.