New Market seniors evacuated after electrical fire

Three floors of the Luther Crest Senior Living Community on Commerce Street in New Market were evacuated Wednesday due to an electrical fire in the building at 1:12 p.m. Thursday.

“It was an electrical short that ended up causing damage to the meter bases of several apartments,” said Shenandoah County Fire Chief Tim Williams. “Fire was out on arrival. We did ventilate the building from a little bit of residual smell, electrical burning smell.”

A few Luther Crest units will not be taken offline for a day or two to allow for electrical repairs, temporarily displacing eight residents. Five are staying with family and friends, and the remaining residents are being assisted by American Red Cross.

Officer Andy Eastep of the New Market Police Department estimated at least 36 senior citizens were cleared from the building. He also said the evacuation was a precautionary measure.

“You never know when things are going to get worse,” Eastep said. “In our line of work, if you can be ahead of the curve a little bit, sometimes it pays off.”

After 30 minutes of standing in the cold, police moved the evacuees into the community’s activity room. Eastep said that no injuries occurred during the incident.

Diakon Senior Living Services, which owns the Luther Crest community, did not return phone messages asking for comment on the fire.