One man dies after fire at retirement community in Hamilton


More than 40 residents in a senior housing apartment building in Hamilton had to evacuate their apartments Friday night after a fire broke out.The Hamilton Fire Chief says it was contained to one apartment and the tenant, 68 year old AJ "Bud" Pugh, died after he was taken to UAB hospital. Luckily, no one else was hurt.Betty Sandlin says, "It was terrible."The last 24 hours has been exhausting for people at Ashwood Apartments in Hamilton. Chris Pennington with the Red Cross says, "You had lots of seniors milling about and they live here and were in rooms and they didn't know what was going on, so it was scary for them."There is also heartbreak.Sandlin says, "He was a good{} guy, we all loved him here.""Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Pugh." Manager Elaine Cashion says 68 year old AJ "Bud" Pugh lived in the unit that caught fire on the fourth floor. He died after being taken the hospital. Cashion says, "Just want to thank the local fire department, volunteers, American Red Cross and serve pro for the quick response for this tragedy." She also says the building houses seniors. All evacuated downstairs around 8 Friday night. Some are displaced because of water damage - but repairs are underway. "We are fortunate we do have a fire sprinkler system which I think really helped in getting the fire contained to one unit." Pennington's grandmother lives here. He says many residents require special needs, but all were taken care of. He says the situation could have been much worse if it wasn't for the quick response. "It really could have spread quickly and again we're in this housing unit and there are lots of apartments beside this apartment."Cashion says routine fire drills helped residents know what to do - they also received assistance from firefighters.{} Sandlin says, "I am thankful."The fire is still under investigation, the cause has not been released. Pennington says the Red Cross is helping Pugh's family with funeral expenses.