LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Emergency crews were called to the scene of a 2-alarm structure fire near 50th and Gary Avenue on Wednesday, June 13. Officials say 140 were evacuated from the Ventura Place Retirement Community. The fire started on the balcony on the third floor. One woman was taken to the hospital for slight smoke inhalation. Jessie Berdsell was one of the 140 residents evacuated from Ventura Place.
"Well I had taken my shoes off and was in my stocking feet," Berdsell said. "[The firefighters] came and said get out so we went and I didn't have any shoes on."
She may have been shoe-less, but Berdsell remembers she wasn't scared.
"We were all calm because I knew they would take care of us and they did," she said. "The firemen were just terrific, they just took such good care of us along with everyone here."
Officials say the fire originated in an air conditioning unit on the third floor of the building. That air conditioner unit was recalled by the manufacturer on March 1, 2018. The recall says the outdoor fan motors can overheat, posing burn and fire hazards. More than half a million units were recalled in the United States.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, those with the recalled air conditioner would need to contact Goodman for a free repair kit and installation by an authorized technician. The recall said commercial owners were being contacted directly and would be provided with free repair kits. The units were sold at Goodman and heating and cooling dealers nationwide from January 2010 through February 2018. Goodman is a company out of Houston, TX. The recall says there have been nine reports of units catching on fire.
"There was an AC unit that was the cause of it that was determined by the Fire Marshall," Resident Experience Coordinator at Ventura Place Jerry Romero said. "Since then, any other unit that was a part of the recall have been repaired. the recall is no longer a part of it and all of that has been resolved."
As for if they knew if the AC units were recalled in the first place, Romeros at Ventura Place says he was not aware of it, but that's something that would have been handled by the maintenance team.
After the evacuation many residents were transported by Citi Bus to Seventh-Day Adventist Church where they were sheltered for a brief time.
Lubbock Fire Rescue would like to commend the staff of Ventura Place Retirement Community for their quick and orderly response to this situation.
Lubbock Fire Rescue would like to say Thank You to the staff and members of Seventh-Day Adventist Church for allowing us to use their building as a refuge area for the residents of Ventura Place Retirement Community. Lubbock Fire Rescue would also like to say Thank You to Citi Bus for their quick response in helping transport the residents.
Today, every resident returned back to the retirement home and repairs are underway to fix the damage left behind.
For those with a Goodman air conditioner and heat pump, call Goodman toll free at 888-803-0512 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit https://www.amana-ptac.com/ and click on "Recall Information" for more information.