The Village at St. Peter's in Pleasantville

The Village at St. Peter's senior housing complex sustained damage from an early morning fire on Feb. 8, 2014. Much of the damage was confined to the interior of the building. About a third of its 73 units were damaged, mostly from smoke and water.

PLEASANTVILLE — A fire early Saturday at the Villages at St. Peter's senior housing complex seriously injured one resident, damaged about one-third of its units and displaced 29 residents.

Pleasantville Battalion Chief Ken Crawford said the department responded to an alarm at 4:09 a.m.

The resident of the fifth floor apartment where the fire started sustained serious burns and was transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, Atlantic City, Crawford said. That person’s name was not released Saturday.

“The fire was contained to the apartment where it started, but there was smoke and water damage to that half of the building,” he said. “The water went all the way to the lobby from the fifth floor.”

Crawford said the fire, which was brought under control by 5:29 a.m., was under investigation Saturday but is being considered accidental.

In addition to Pleasantville, firefighters from Absecon, Northfield, the South Jersey Transportation Authority and the Farmington company of the Egg Harbor Township fire department helped extinguish the blaze.

Curtis Johnson, director of housing for the Catholic Diocese of Camden, said the fire started in a fifth-floor apartment before 5 a.m.

"I give kudos to the Pleasantville fire and police departments," he said. "Both came here quickly and secured the scene."

The actual blaze was extinguished quickly but not before adjacent units were damaged, mostly by water from the complex's sprinkler system, Johnson said. About one-third of the complex's 73 units sustained damage, but Johnson didn't yet have an estimate on repair costs.

The 14,000-square-foot facility opened in 2012 at the site of the former St. Peter Catholic Church convent on the Black Horse Pike.

Red Cross spokeswoman Laura Steinmetz said 29 residents were displaced, mostly from smoke and water damage. The organization worked through the morning to find temporary housing either to empty units within the complex or to friends and family in the area. Others will be relocated to Our Lady of Residence, also in Pleasantville.

"Red Cross staying on the scene for care and comfort client case work until all residents have safe, warm place to stay," Steinmetz said, in a written statement.

The $18.4 million St. Peter's property provides affordable housing to people 62 years and older. Most tenants pay 30 percent of their total income, typically between $200 and $250 per month.

Contact Wallace McKelvey:


@wjmckelvey on Twitter