KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY -

Elderly residents forced to evacuate from their Kinston housing complex due to a fire will soon be able to return home.

According to the contractor of Kinston Hotel at 501 North Queen St., the 15 residents will be able to return to their homes by Friday night.

They were evacuated from the complex due to a cooking fire on the seventh floor just before 10:30 p.m. Thursday, a public safety official told NewsChannel 12.

The fire activated the sprinkler system and the flames were out when crews arrived, the officials said. But the sprinkler system dropped a large amount of water, which seeped down through the fourth floor, causing water damage.

Officials said they decided to cut power to the top floors as a precaution, which shut down the elevators. Since many elderly people live in the building, those top floors were evacuated because the stairs would be the only way to reach them in an emergency, according to officials.

Most of the displaced residents are staying with family members in the area. As of Friday morning, only the first three floors were occupied.

Three people were treated for shortness of breath during the evacuation, but no other injuries were reported, officials said.