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Colonial Acres in Orange temporarily evacuated

ORANGE — Police evacuated a building in the Colonial Acres complex Sunday morning, but residents were allowed to return after the smoke was traced to a ventilator fire in the attic and extinguished.

The 200 East River St. apartment complex is managed by the Orange Housing Authority as housing for elderly, disabled and low-income residents.

Firefighter Mark Vitale said the department received an alarm at 7:47 a.m. and the fire was out at 8:13 a.m.

“When we arrived there was smoke coming out of the roof, under the eaves, and the police department was evacuating the building,” Vitale said. Firefighters traced the fire to the attic and cut a hole in the roof, expecting a larger fire, but were able to quickly extinguish the fire sparked by a faulty motor on a ventilation fan, he said.

The damage was limited to insulation, beams and the ventilator, Vitale said. No one was hurt and the residents of the eight apartments were allowed to return at 5 p.m. after the housing authority covered the hole in the roof.

A fire destroyed two apartments in the complex in January, the flames fanned by medical oxygen in one of the apartments but the cause was not known at the time.

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