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October 30, 2013

Power chair cleared in fatal DeChantal Apartments fire

(Continued)

“Then the tenants were allowed to go back to their units.”

Amid the tragic loss to the elderly community, Feinberg said, the very fast and tactical fire response was key in preventing any other damage or fatalities.

RESTAURANTS STEP UP

Some of the displaced seniors had gone to stay with family or friends for the day. Others went to area churches to wait out the inspection.

And some were able to wait in the first-floor community room starting at about 8:30 a.m., where, Feinberg said, area restaurants came in and served lunch and dinner.

“Word in the building came after lunchtime that (Mrs. Schoonmaker) had passed away,” he said.

’ABOVE AND BEYOND’

In the statement, the Fire Department expressed appreciation to the managers, custodian staff and all those who make their homes at DeChantel Apartments. 

“This was a large incident, and their patience and cooperation greatly assisted emergency service personnel with the evacuation, accountability of residents and being able to respond to the fire and various medical emergencies at the scene.”

As for the three residents who attempted to save Mrs. Schoonmaker, officials added, “their efforts were above and beyond.”

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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