NBC 12 investigates fires at Honey Tree Apartments

By Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Firefighters have become a common site at the Honey Tree Apartments. Several fires there have been ruled accidental. Since the most recent blaze nearly three weeks ago, NBC 12 has received a stack of emails from residents concerned about their safety. We looked into it and found out firefighters have responded to the Honey Tree Apartments nine times in the last two years.

For Stephanie Knight, life is not sweet at the Honey Tree Apartments. She's returned home to a scene with fire trucks at her complex multiple times in the year she's lived there.

"It's one of those things, you don't know what building it is. You don't know which apartment it's impacting. You don't know if anyone's been hurt," she said.

Fire Department records reveal a list of incidents.

On July 13, 2008, a stove caught on fire. In January of 2009, firefighters responded to a blaze in a barrel. Two months later they handled another one in a dumpster.

Then, a two alarm fire was caused when contractors held blow torches too close to combustible vapors. In April and June of that year, fires occurred when people were cooking. On June 9, 2009, there was an overloaded electrical outlet.

Fire marshals have ruled most of the blazes accidental and said they were caused by basic human error.

"No building component has been identified that crosses all of those fires," said Fire Marshal David Seay.

There are no code violations and marshals have found nothing wrong with the buildings. They're hoping education might prevent the sounds of sirens at the Honey Tree Apartments.

Officials went there last week to teach some basic fire safety. Of the 388 units in the complex, less than thirty residents showed up.

"You'd like to think that if you're responsible enough to live in an apartment, pay your rent and your bills, you would be able to properly cook food in the microwave," said Knight.

Fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the most recent fire. In the meantime, firefighters say they're more than willing to come to each apartment to discuss any fire hazards that may be lurking in a home.

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