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Davis

Davis, California

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Davis community rallies for students, families who were displaced from their homes due to Glacier Point Apartments fire

JOSH MOY / AGGIE

Glacier Point Apartments expected to cost over $200,000 for reconstruction

At approximately 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 1, a call was reported to the Davis Fire Department that the Glacier Point Apartments, located at 2225 Glacier Dr., had smoke and flames spewing from the roof. It started with a large crackling noise and led to much worse, as residents fled their homes and came to realize that they would not be able to return to them.

With 30 residents displaced from their apartments, the fire department brought in backup to try to save as much as they could. The Dixon, UC Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento Fire Departments sent backup to contain the structure fire. Firefighters figured out that the fire was coming from within the walls, as the building was constructed with walls meant to contain fire.

“The firemen tried to put the fire out from my room, so there was a lot of debris from insulation, drywall and wood found all over my room because they took apart the ceiling to combat the fire,” said Brianna Murphy, a masters student in structural engineering. “Regarding my belongings, it was mostly damage from water and the fire retardant. The only thing I actually lost was my mattress and bedding, everything else was able to be washed to get the water, retardant or smoke out of it.”

Staff and firefighters could not locate the fire at first and had to kick seven doors down, practically tearing up each of 10 apartments. The fire walls suppressed the fire, but they burned slowly and started smoldering, causing the fire to make it to the roof and reveal itself.

“The fire ended up being in some void spaces in the middle of two apartments, so it took us some time to find the seat of the fire,” said Joe Tenney, the Davis Fire Department division chief, to The Davis Enterprise.

Gregg J. Herrington, the president of Yackzan Group Inc. and Yolo Property Manager, received a call from on-site staff around 6:15 p.m. regarding the fire.

“With the amount of fire agencies present, they were actually able to move people’s stuff before tearing up walls within the rooms of the apartments, saving clothes in closets,” Herrington said. “People were able to come back and expect potentially everything to be ruined, but rather came back to find a good amount of their personal belongings in the living room. It was these little things that were executed that made a huge difference to the students returning from break or families coming back with their children.”

Hallmark Inn was flexible with its booking and offered to block off rooms for all those evacuated. Herrington would not let any resident leave homeless and made sure past residents were either put up in a hotel or placed in available property offered by local landlords. The community came together to offer relief efforts and assist those affected. The city manager and mayor reached out almost immediately to Herrington to offer assistance.

Even staff from UC Davis gave Herrington contact information for on-campus counseling and support for students that were at Glacier Point.

“It was really stressful as a grad student because I had assignments due for class, and I had to miss my shifts for work,” said Kassidy Heckmann, a first-year graduate student in the UC Davis environmental policy and management program. “The housing we found was four miles from campus, and Unitrans doesn’t accept graduate students for free. So now, I have to spend even more money on top of what I already spent on the move so I can just get to class and work. Finances has been the greatest struggle of this entire thing.”

Heckmann described the inconvenience and difficulties that stemmed from the fire.

“It’s been a hard transition for sure, and definitely not the ideal way to begin 2019,” Heckmann said. “But, every day I’m grateful that I was able to walk away from this unharmed.”

Herrington informed the public that the fire was ruled accidental after two investigations by the city and its insurance company. The two agencies discovered it was an electrical fire that sparked inside an attic wall.

“I believe we took the right actions and made a good decision by taking care of people to the best of our ability, highlighting the importance of renter’s insurance,” Herrington said. “Renter’s insurance is a game changer, and I think after this incident and looking back at everything that just happened, we are going to start requiring it and educate renters’ property on how important having this form of insurance is.”

After inspecting the damage, Herrington and his team estimate a maximum of six months to rebuild and have not found an exact cost for reconstruction but estimate anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000.

Herrington has followed up with everyone who was displaced. With how efficiently the situation was handled, Glacier Point Apartments is still receiving and taking lease applications for the next academic year.

Written by: Lauren Tropio — city@theaggie.org

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