Fifty units damaged at senior living apartment fire in Winter Haven, firefighters say

Image 1 of 3

A kitchen fire led to major damage at a Winter Haven apartment complex for senior citizens.

The damage wasn’t from the flames, according to firefighters, but water from the sprinklers. Before 8 p.m. Monday, Winter Haven firefighters responded to an alarm call at E.C Towers, located at 500 Avenue L NW. 

They said the fire was out when they arrived, but there was water damage to apartment units below where the initial fire took place. More than 200 residents were evacuated. They said about 50 units were damaged and those residents will be temporarily displaced. Red Cross is assisting. 

"The fire sprinkler system did exactly what is was designed to do," said Public Safety Director Charlie Bird. "Although there is some water damage to lower units, there is minimal damage overall."

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire sprinkler systems can reduce the risk of dying in a fire by 85 percent.

There were no reported injuries. It’s unclear when or if residents can return to their homes.