Fire Marshals shut down The Lawtonian Apartments - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fire Marshals shut down The Lawtonian Apartments

LAWTON, Okla._Residents were unexpectedly forced to evacuate a Lawton apartment complex.

"How many people ever go through getting woken up and told they don't have a place to live that night,” said Lawtonian tenant Cody Aspinwall.

"At this time the building is off limits to the public," said Lawton Fire Marshal Mark Mitchell.

Fire marshals ordered the shutdown of The Lawtonian Apartments, just south of Central Mall, after they went to investigate an anonymous complaint and found the building's two elevators inoperable. They also discovered the fire alarm system was not up to state code.


"So, if there was a fire, no one would know unless they saw flames," said Lawton Assistant City Manager Jim Russell.

"We understand this is a terrible inconvenience to the occupants. We hated that this had to happen, but our interest is public safety and we want to make sure they are safe in the building they are residing in. And that if there was an incident, that the firemen responding are safe as well," said Mitchell.

Lawton fire and police, along with city management remained on scene throughout the day while tenants gathered their belongings and made other living arrangements. Russell says things moved smoothly throughout the day and say tenants understood action was being taken with their best interests in mind.

“When something happens suddenly it can be interesting, for me I never expected something like that, and I like to see the procedure, the safety, the servicemen, people in uniform, the City of Lawton they very kind and very helpful," said tenant Nicolo Ferrari.

"So, our first concern are the people who live here and we want to make sure that they are safe that they don't have to worry about anything when they go to bed at night," said Russell.

The building will remain closed throughout the weekend. In the meantime, the building's 36 residents will stay with family, friends, or the Salvation Army.

Fire investigators say the building has recently undergone a change in management, and that the out-of-town owners have been very helpful. They say there is no reason Friday's concerns shouldn't be resolved, but couldn't give a precise timeline when residents will be let back in. Security officers will remain on scene, in case tenants need to retrieve important items, like medication.
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