BEATRICE - Residents were evacuated from an apartment building late Saturday night when a fire broke out in an attic area of the building.
Beatrice Firefighters were sent to the apartment complex at 11th and Lincoln Streets at 10:36 p.m., where fire broke out in one of the upper floor apartments toward the south end.

Beatrice Police also responded, with officers evacuating residents in the building. Officer Tim Price said a new officer that he was shadowing for training did a good job of evacuating the building.  "It did start in one apartment in particular, but it did make it into the attic. The only time I saw flames is when they cut back the west side roof area....and some flames came down. They shot water into there."

A Beatrice fire pumper truck and an aerial ladder truck were sent to the scene. An electric crew arrived to shut off power to the building. An ambulance was dispatched as well, but there apparently were no injuries.

Apartment dwellers waited outside or in their vehicles as firefighters attacked the flames next to an alley. Fire was visible through the eaves of the building on the east and west sides and officials opened a roof section of the building to get at the fire.

Fire Captain Craig Fisher said the apartment building has twelve units….and the fire was in the attic, also causing moderate damage to the apartment below where the fire started. Gage County Emergency Management Agency said 18 apartment dwellers and three pets were displaced. Fisher said much of the main electrical in the attic was damaged. A rough estimated of the total damage was $40,000. Fisher said the cause was traced to a fire that had happened earlier…but was put out.

"The apartment directly below where the fire was in the attic had a stovetop fire. They extinguished it with a fire extinguisher. I think they pretty much thought they had it out, but it got up in there...and this was four hours before we were dispatched to the fire, so we believed there was something smoldering up there for awhile and they just thought they had it out. They had called the property owner and let him know what was going on...and I think they didn't suspect anything else was going on, until about four hours later."

Fisher said when firefighters reached the second floor, they observed flames through an access area to the attic. Officials had the fire under control in less than ten minutes….but remained on scene to monitor still hot areas.  "The attic space is like three thousand-some square feet and we had a lot of spot fires flaring up....just kind of chasing things around. It just took a long time to get it....out."

The Red Cross and city inspections were requested at the scene. The building is in the five-hundred block of North 11th on the west side of the street.
Firefighters wrapped up work at the scene, at around two a.m., Sunday.