Fire claims Christopher City unit

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It has not been a good semester for the Christopher City apartments.

The University of Arizona family-housing complex, 3401 N. Columbus Blvd., had problems last month when a committee recommended tearing down and rebuilding the complex due to problems with electrical wiring, pipes, roaches, chemical pesticides and sewage backups that caused sickness among residents.

Then, about 5 p.m. Sunday, the streak of bad luck continued when fire destroyed one of the 326 units at the complex. Firefighters were called at 4:55 p.m. and had put out the fire by 5:06 p.m., said Capt. John Hermes, of the Tucson Fire Department.

The fire in unit 16-D was an "accidental fire caused by discarded smoking materials," Hermes said.

Damage to the apartment is estimated at about $15,000 and there is also slight smoke damage to both adjacent apartments, he said.

Hai-soo Kil, a journalism senior and the resident of the apartment, was not injured in the fire, but all of his belongings were destroyed in the fire, said Martha Castleberry, the complex manager.

"Luckily no one was hurt," she said. "What I thought was great was that before the firefighters had even left, the American Red Cross came and offered emergency financial aid to (Kil); he really needs it since everything he owned was destroyed."

"Extensive damage" destroyed the apartment, which is no longer habitable, Castleberry said. Kil has been temporarily placed in another apartment at the complex.

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