Fire remains under investigation

Portsmouth-The cause of a Thursday afternoon fire/explosion at a Portsmouth apartment building remains unknown at this time.

The Portsmouth Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 4:19 pm. to Coles Terrace Apartments for what was described as a “small explosion,” according to a report from the fire department.

According to the report, the rear door wasdetached and the rear wall of the building was pushed out from the building at apartment 29.

When opening walls for extinguishing the flames, firefighters found the blaze had extended to apartments 28 and 30 as well. The flames were extinguished in all three apartments. It is still undetermined whether the fire caused the explosion or if it was a result of the explosion.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and has been turned over to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

According to the report, Columbia Gas of Ohio was on the scene to repair “multiple hits of gas leakages.” They issued a statement late Thursday evening saying :

“Columbia Gas of Ohio emergency response crews are assisting the Portsmouth Fire Department with an incident at 1245 Coles Blvd. The situation has been made safe, and an investigation into the cause is underway. No injuries have been reported.

“Our crews will begin restoring service to customers impacted as a result of this incident. We will continue to support authorities throughout their investigation.

“Our customers expect and deserve safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to their homes and businesses. Natural gas safety requires a partnership between Columbia Gas of Ohio, our customers, and communities. If a customer smells an odor of natural gas, they should leave the area immediately, move to a safe location and call 911 and Columbia Gas of Ohio at 800-344-4077.

Portsmouth residents may request an inside safety check of gas lines, by calling Columbia Gas at 800-344-4077.

According to the report from the fire department there were no injuries from the incident. A total of 15 firefighters were on the scene.