Fatal fire sparks apartment inspections

The Hidden Cedar fire killed two and left dozens homeless on March 26, 2012.

In the wake of the fatal fire at Hidden Cedars apartment complex last month, Springfield Township fire officials started inspecting several hundred apartments and condominium buildings in the area.

The Hidden Cedars fire destroyed a 24-unit building and left dozens homeless, many who didn't have renter's insurance and lost everything. This was the fourth major fire at the Springfield Township complex in the past 12 years.

While the inspection plan is still in its infancy stages, assistant fire chief Rick Helminski said the department has now checked two complexes: Hidden Cedars and Holland Crossing. They discovered no fire stops in the remaining Hidden Cedars buildings.

"We have a plan, we're going to stick to it and make a difference," Helminski said. "If we recognize that there's a problem, we're going to work with complex management to fix it."

Helminski said attic fire stops give the fire department time to extinguish and prevent the flames from spreading any further. Fire crews can also perform ventilation techniques to control the blaze if fire stops are in place.

Investigators believe the Hidden Cedar fire was set intentionally, but they have not made any arrests.