Personal belongings recovered after apartment fire

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - About a dozen people thought they lost everything in a fire. But Thursday morning they were able to recover personal items from their damaged apartments.

The fire happened more than a week ago at Old Buckingham Station, an apartment complex in Midlothian.  People thought they lost everything until they saw what a recovery crew was pulling out.

Tracie Williams showed us an old family photo recovered from her burned apartment.  "My mom and dad. I need to clean that off. And some pictures here that actually turned out fabulous. I mean they really looked good. I guess because the glass was there."

After a week of heartbreak, Tracie is finally smiling again.  Thursday morning, she stood outside her burned apartment. Behind a chain-link fence she watched men carefully carry out her priceless gems.

During the blaze that spewed 20 foot flames, Tracie's roof caved in.  She thought all of her photos -- some older than she is -- were gone.

"Nobody else in the family had a picture like this," explained Tracie "so I can get other pictures, but not this particular picture. So I was really, really glad."

In addition to her photos, Tracie was able to get back some important documents, like her son's birth certificate. It was all kept in this fire-safe box which prevented the paper from getting burned, but the sprinklers soaked the sheets of paper.

"If they saw it and they could grab it they did," said a tenant who only wanted to be identified as Shanique.

Shanique, a mother of two, can barely explain what it's like to see her stuff again.

"I'm elated," said Shanique.  "I am over-whelmed with joy."

Soaked school bags, vacuums and shoes still stuck in their case now dry off in her new apartment.

"I'm just, I'm blessed."

The Chesterfield Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire.

This is the third fire at the Old Buckingham Station apartments.

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