Five Year old starts fire at Petersburg apartment complex

Update 4:22pm

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – NBC12 has learned the fire was caused by a five-year-old playing with a lighter. The child accidently set a bed on fire. The fire was contained to just one apartment, so neighbors should be back in their apartments by now. Again, there were no injuries.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Dozens of people were forced out of their homes after an early morning fire burned through part of an apartment complex in Petersburg.

Debris and charred siding are all that remain after the fire forced 29 people out of the Petersburg East apartment complex on the 100 block of Croatan Drive.

"The fire was shooting out the side," said Andron Wiggins. "When I pulled up, I could see the glow from the fire and the window."

Wiggins rushed here as soon as he heard his girlfriend's building had caught on fire. Crews say the flames started in the second floor bedroom of the unit. Everyone inside made it out. Firefighters rushed to the scene around 12:45 Monday morning. Smoke and water damage forced seven families out of nearby units in the building.

"I'm just glad everybody was able to get out of the building," Wiggins added. "Nobody was hurt or anything like that."

Everyone grabbed what they could and got out as soon as possible. The American Red Cross offered to put the victims up in a hotel for at least two nights, along with a food and clothing allowance if needed.

"I think this is a little worse than some of the others," said Red Cross Volunteer, James Schillinger. "We're lucky no one got hurt here."

Even though flames left quite a bit of damage to part of the building, people say they count their blessings that all kids and adults inside made it out safely.

Investigators will continue to be out there today to determine the cause of the fire. Last time we checked, utility crews had cut off the power until repairs can be made.

The Red Cross said it can offer those victims a place to stay for longer if they can't get back into their apartment within a couple days.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.