CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A fire at Little Rock Apartments forced more than a dozen people including nine children out of their homes Friday night.
“We saw a building that had a total of 12 apartments in it, all evacuated,” said Steve Nason, Disaster Program Specialist for the Charlotte Metro Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Nearly two dozen Charlotte firefighters were called to the scene and helped families down the stairs and out of the burning apartment building. Nason received a call from a friend who lives in the building alerting him to the fire so, he headed that way.
“I happened to know someone who lives in that building and they were very much shocked by the whole event.”
When he arrived firefighters had the fire under control but the building was still smoking. 17 people were forced out of their homes and had to take shelter in a nearby community center. Nason said a thunderstorm erupted soon after he arrived making the situation more devastating.
“No sooner than we pull in it started raining harder than I’ve ever seen it in my life and that put a little bit of a cramp in our ability to respond.”
According to the Fire Department deemed the fire accidental and said it left 47-thousand dollars in damage. Nason said power had to be cut to half of the building so those whose apartments were still habitable still couldn’t return.
The American Red Cross is assisting several of the families financially and provided a few with lodging. A representative of the organization said some of the families were able to stay with family and friends.
“For most people fires aren’t things that happen but once in a lifetime, if at all, so when they do happen it’s a real shock to the system.”
Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire. Firefighters said working smoke alarms alerted everyone in the building to the fire allowing them time to escape.