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31 now out of a home after second fire at Park Hill Drive apartments
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Gainesville Fire personnel battle a fire Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, at Versailles Apartments on Park Hill Drive. - photo by Scott Rogers

Thirty-one people were displaced by fires Monday, Nov. 30, and Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Versailles Apartments at 1687 Park Hill Drive in Gainesville, according to fire officials. No injuries were reported.

Four apartments in the D building at the complex were damaged by either fire or smoke and water, Gainesville Fire spokesman Keith Smith said.

Salvation Army of Gainesville Lt. Andre Pereira said Tuesday they have been contacted about providing shelter, though it was unclear how many would be coming. Smith said some have found a place to stay elsewhere.

Smoke wafted through the building Monday, but four other apartments were in OK shape and residents were allowed to return home, he said.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Firefighters were alerted to the fire around 1:15 p.m. Monday by a resident who called “saying there was very heavy fire coming from the windows of this apartment,” Smith said, pointing to an apartment where firefighters were still working. “There was very heavy fire damage in that apartment.”

Smoke was pouring out of the roof of the building, “so we had to cut a hole in the roof to try to find out if there was fire (in that area) or just smoke,” Smith said.

Smith said the main fire was knocked down by 1:30 p.m. Monday

Alexis Cavarria, who lives in the D building, said he was asleep at the time of the fire.

“Somebody woke me up and said, ‘You have to get up. We have a fire,’” he said.

Upon leaving the building, “I saw a lot of smoke, not a lot of flames,” Cavarria said, standing outside as firefighters went in and out of the building.

He said his apartment wasn’t affected by the fire.

Firefighters returned to the scene Tuesday after the attic space above the D building caught fire, which “ran the entire length of the building,” Smith said.

Another 13 people were displaced after the Tuesday fire. Most of the damage was caused by smoke and the firefighters’ water, though there was some fire damage.

“Due to the wind and heavy fire involvement in the attic of the building, along with multiple roofs on the building, this fire was difficult to locate and extinguish,” Smith said in a Tuesday update. “Crews worked for several hours to extinguish the fire.”

The fire marshal’s office is investigating both fires, though officials have not provided the cause for either fire.

Smith did not comment on whether the fire on Monday led to the Tuesday fire.

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Gainesville Fire personnel respond to a fire Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, at Versailles Apartments on Park Hill Drive. - photo by Scott Rogers
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